Is business not going as smoothly as you’d hoped? Maybe you’re failing to attract clients or keep losing your existing ones. It can be tempting to throw the towel in and go back to the 9-5 but don’t be so hasty! Here are a few simple reasons you might be scaring away clients and how to rectify them:
You’re not keeping them updated
When you take on a new client, they might be quite happy to let you just get on with the work. However, some client like regular updates.
If you’re working on a big project and not checking in with your clients, you might end up getting panicked emails and phone calls checking up on you. It can be distracting and a little hurtful even to think that they don’t trust you.
So make sure you’re aware of the client’s expectations before you start working. If they want regular updates, then agree on set check in times so you both know what to expect.
This gives you both the chance to stay on the same page and also raise any queries or issues as they come up. This will also avoid the dreaded unsatisfied client at the end of your project who ends up hating everything you’ve done because you’ve had different things in mind.
You’re bombarding them
On the other hand of the spectrum, you might be coming across as a bit too eager. If you’re non-stop sending out queries and follow ups to potential clients, you’re going to annoy them really quickly.
There can be all sorts of reasons why they’ve not got back to you. Sending a reminder is fine but not one every day. Yes maybe they have forgotten but some might just not be interested in your services, or it’s not the right time for them in their business. Maybe they’ll change their mind but they almost certainly won’t if you annoy them.
Similarly, once a client comes on board, if you’re bothering them by asking questions every week they might be less inclined to work with you in the future because you’ll come across as unorganised.
Instead of asking a new question whenever it occurs to you, put together a questionnaire for a client to complete whenever a new one comes on board or you’re taking on a new piece of work. This will allow both you and your client breathing room while you complete the work but also ensures you’re well informed enough to carry out the work.
Your Website Puts Them Off
Maybe your website is looking a little shabby. If you’re not design oriented, then your best bet is to keep your website as simple as possible until you can hire a designer.
If you’re happy with the design, you also need to be thinking about the user’s experience. What is the first thing a potential client will see, what is their first impressions? Is the navigation easy to use? Is your website full of distracting adverts?
You want to make your website look good but above all it should be clean and function well. You want to make it as easy to hire you as possible. If you’ve got a high bounce rate, in other words people are coming to your website and running away quickly, you have some clear issues that need addressing.
You’re Not Confident with Your Work
This is a problem a lot of beginner freelancers have. It’s also the main reason people undercharge for their services. You might not even notice you’re doing it but you might be selling yourself short.
First of all you need to project confidence through your marketing but the work doesn’t end there. You need to reassure your clients that they’re in good hands and that means maintaining the same level of confidence through all your business correspondence.
Take a look through your previous emails to clients. Do you seem uncertain or hesitant? They’re probably picking up on it even if you don’t realise you’re doing it. Your lack of confidence is only going to translate into their lack of confidence in you.
Be honest with yourself, can you do this work? If you can then make sure you remind yourself of this. If you can’t then you’re probably overpromising which will often end in angry clients.
What else can you do? Ask for feedback
If you’re not sure exactly why your clients keep dropping you, then you can always ask for some feedback. Whether it’s in the format of a survey or an offhand question, it’s always good to know what you’re doing right or wrong.
Sometimes you’re not doing anything wrong. Difficult times in the economy or business uncertainty could end up in less demand for your services. However, if the problem is consistent or not affecting other freelancers as much as you, then maybe you should take a look at the above points and make some changes.
What other things do you think put clients off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.