An effective communication method is key to working with clients. To get projects from freelancing sites freelancers need to communicate effectively with clients. Effective communication is so much important in all interactions that we do on the internet with clients.
Some clients mention communication skills necessary in the job descriptions. According to my personal experiences so far effective communication plays a great role to build relationships and trust with clients.
And that will help you to become a successful freelancer. So, let’s start to learn about communication skills and how you can also communicate effectively with clients and turn interviews into job and one-time projects in long term. But let’s learn first some technical points about communications.
What is communication?
According to Vijay Sharma, “Communication is an art. Used and executed by various methods of communication (speaking, writing, sign & symbols, languages, colors, actions, images, feelings, imagination, etc.) and it is a system to exchange information and data with each other or to connect with two objects. In simple words I am communicating with you by use of words and writing methods, this is called communication.
What are Communication Skills?
When we use words, text, images, signs, symbols, languages, and various systems of communication-based on client or person, situation, work, time and information is called communication skills. E.g. if the client is not understanding your points during the text chat then you use symbols and images, or screenshots to prove your points.
Another example is when the client does not understand your point due to your using English words then you can use different words and angles to say the same thing in another way. Just as I explained my point of view with examples. This is what I call communication skills. In other words, effective communication means when you are able to understand the feelings of another person no matter whether he/she is speaking, writing or using sign language.
Our elderly people said that communication is an art that you can use to make friends or enemies. Choice is yours.
So, let’s understand now why effective communication is important while working remotely. Why do we need to improve communication skills to get freelancing projects?
Why do we need to communicate effectively with freelance clients?
If we’re doing freelancing and communicating remotely by use of text and video chats then it’s really important our used words are understandable and easy. We need to interact with clients on the internet. They don’t know us personally, so how can they believe in us or spend money on us? That’s why all freelancing sites want freelancers to use clear and high-resolution professional photographs as their profile pictures.
That’s why freelancing sites guide freelancers to write profile titles and job descriptions clearly and professionally. Websites or our profiles interact directly with clients while they are watching our photos and title and reading our job proposals for a particular job. That’s why it should be communicative and trustworthy.
Communication is also important while discussing the project details and scopes. No matter which method of communication you’re using, the manner and effectiveness can be easily adaptable or addable.
There are lots of things to talk about in communication here but let’s understand now how to communicate effectively with clients while working remotely, on freelancing sites, offline or anywhere. The basics are the same for all situations and in business communication and customer handling.
10 Ways to communicate effectively with Freelance clients:
These are the ways I learned and use while working with freelance clients on the internet. And I am learning and improving my communication each day so the following are the effective and fully tested ways that help to communicate and win the hearts of clients. Following are the top 10 client communication methods:
1) Think before speaking
Don’t communicate extra with clients. First, understand the point of view of clients while chatting on Skype or Upwork chat room or anywhere else. Don’t type fast. If you’re doing a video chat or text chat then first learn from words about the client, and imagine the situation and problem the client is facing. If you have a problem with the English language then use Google Translate to understand word meaning.
If unable to find words then speak and write in the words of clients. Try to provide the solution in easy and useful ways. Clients are intelligent enough and they will understand your point. But if your spelling, voice or camera resolutions are bad then it will produce a negative impact on clients. So, my first suggestion when communicating with clients is just to speak and write what is important and don’t talk extra.
2) Wait and find a solution
Give time to the client to chat or speak or explain the point of view. Wait no matter client is taking time to answer or respond, sometimes they are busy with other freelancers. So, stop typing if the client is not communicating after your last sentences. First, understand what the client is saying then find the solution and respond by using similar words, the client has used to describe the problem or job.
3) Use symbols, arrows, and emotions to communicate
Symbols, arrows, and emotions are great tools to communicate online, especially during chat sessions. You can use these if something looks difficult for you to explain. But also consider the tone and behavior of clients. Some clients are very serious and they don’t like it but if the client is using a similar then you can also use this method.
When I got my first job on Upwork, I was so excited at that time and I used smiley to explain my happiness. Even today I used emotions when I failed to accomplish something or want to tell something negative then I used emotions. Skype or almost all chat applications provides these things for the purpose to communicate better and more effectively with clients.
4) Use different sentences and words to explain
Sometimes clients stop communicating surprisingly and do not answer. The common reason I got is that my sentences and words are not correct or aligned in the way they can produce the information.
So, I use examples, interrogative sentences, and different words. We don’t need to fear while we are communicating we just need to be creative. Clients are our customers and it’s really important to explain to them the solution like teachers use the way to teach students.
5) Feel the emotions
This is the big secret of getting jobs and building relationships with clients while working online. For this, you have to feel the emotions of clients in their words while they are discussing projects in the job description or while chatting during the interview.
If the client is angry then don’t use funny words. If the client is looking positive or using positive words in communication then ask difficult questions or your scope with clients. I used this method thousands of times and it worked great for me. Because we need to understand the situation, problems faced by clients, timing, work, and expectation of clients while applying for jobs or projects on freelancing sites. After that, we can visualize or imagine the situation so we can communicate effectively with clients.
6) Be like a family member
It’s’ ok that we don’t know them but they are human like us. No matter whether they are from India or anywhere in the world. We just need to be professional with them but at the same time, we need to react like we’re their family member and we are the most valuable person they ever meet in their professional career. It required selfless dedication to help the clients by going the extra mile.
We need to be available when they required us. Sometimes we need to teach them and sometimes we need to behave like their students. Our communication is the only method to build a strong bond between two unknown objects. For E.g. “I need help with some stuff, can you check with me this evening? Then what is the possible answer: My answer is “Yes, I will remind you, no problem. I use most of these words “Done, no problem, Good Morning, Good afternoon, Yes I will do my best, you just don’t worry I can do it, I will try it until we are not able to process the program. Etc.
7) Give respect
My 70 percent of clients offline/online are older than me and it’s not a problem. But it was a plus point to work with more experienced clients. The point is here that I learn from them especially clients outside of India. They trust me, give respect and talk to me very softly and genuinely. They are happy to hire me or work with me.
I learned that if you give respect to clients they will respect you. But it does depend on the work you’re doing. Sometimes they are angry because of other things and share the frustration of other people with you, in this condition you need to help them to get back up. Sometimes clients are very negative about the scope of the project, sometimes they are in the zone of doing and dying. At that point, you can be the greatest asset to them to help, recharge and encourage them.
We are freelancers and we are doing business. It doesn’t mean that after completing the work we just ignore them, and after getting the money then stop responding to them, and just be good as human beings.
My suggestion is always to respect people, don’t be like some Indian bus conductor talking to people while collecting money and giving tickets or doctors in the hospital talk to people like some truck drivers do. I am not blaming all the doctors and conductors, but you know especially in India and outside India too that some people in their profession show too much pride or ego. That’s not good for long-term success. Our behavior is the most important thing counted by clients while we do service.
Money doesn’t matter it’s about helping and communicating politely. The most successful big businessmen and entrepreneurs are very polite, humble, and trustworthy and because of this, they are successful. I am still learning this, I am not perfect in behaviors, communication, and English but I think we all need to work hard on this.
8) Try to use easy words – less technical words
As you know that all clients are not that technical or understand technical sentences. So try to use less technical words and communicate by giving examples. If the client is technical then use the words according. But the better way is to communicate indirectly, about the work that they want us to do.
You can use technical words and sentences where it is necessary but too much use can sometimes confuse the clients and they feel very sacred about the thing. And sometimes you need to train or convince clients of something, in that case, you need to have such kind of communication skills which help to point out your views to them.
9) Communicate positively about the project/task/ideas
This is another important thing that we need to understand while communicating with clients about the projects and scopes. Be positive even from writing a cover letter and job proposal and after that in an interview. Sometimes the task is not done by us correctly and sometimes clients are unable us to convince of the function to code or to implement something. In that case without understanding don’t talk like that this is not possible. I think this is not good. They are paying us. It means it’s our duty to do that.
Yes, we can explain that in any way as a guide but don’t cut their point immediately. Just take time. And another thing to consider while communicating about the work is that always use positive words, and sentences and be positive about the task, no matter if it is looking impossible or less valuable. Just say it in humble ways. It is possible also that they got angry with us due to poor results or less quality or less availability sometimes.
So, in that case, be quiet and let them explain, and from your side say sorry. No worries, sorry no matter or one mistake will not present you as less talented. But learn from mistakes and always respond to clients that what you did wrong.
10) Be professional
Don’t talk or chat like people do on Facebook with friends. You need to show professionalism. Also, share your views and suggestions about the projects. Be honest and show clearly a stepwise process to follow. Also, follow the guidelines clients process to you. Not all clients are the best managers or leaders some freelancers are lucky in that case they got very good clients. So, it’s important to understand the point of view, the behavior of clients, and their expectations.
So, friends, I think these above communication methods are very effective while writing job proposals, chatting about the project on Skype or any other way, offline and online communication. I think and really believe that if you follow the methods above it will build a great long-term working relationship with clients. Our goals after getting the projects or after working for clients are that we need to explore the scopes or bond with high professionalism to turn short-term clients into long-term.
That’s what I think and used so far offline and online. What do you think about communication with clients? What do you think, How to communicate with clients effectively? You can share with us the knowledge, which will be helpful for other freelancers and clients.
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