As freelancers, we wield the written word with great skill, but there are those times that we need to actually talk with a client. Sometimes, we come to those meetings with fear and trepidation, but you don’t have to be afraid to talk to your clients. As long as you ban these specific phrases from your vocabulary, you can have a successful face-to-face (or phone-to-phone) conversation with your client.
- I just do this work on the side. It’s no secret that many freelancers have a nine-to-five and use freelancing to supplement their income. Those in the business of hiring content writers may realize this, but they don’t want to hear it from you. Your client is expecting you to give 110 percent to his project. Keep your other job to yourself.
- *&*#(*&@! If it’s not appropriate for your kids to hear, it shouldn’t be said to your client. Curse words are simply not classy. They may have made you look cool in the seventh grade, but you’re a grown up now, and one who is putting forth a professional image. Keep it clean.
- Can you say that again? Asking your client to repeat himself does not show good listening skills. When you have the chance to talk to your client, you need to listen. If you can’t catch everything he says the first time around – and let’s face it, unless you have a superhero’s ability to listen, you are going to miss something – then you need to record your conversation. Also, repeat what you heard so your client can clarify if needed, but above all you must listen. This shows you value your client’s time.
- The baby threw up/didn’t sleep/I partied too hard. Your personal life is just that – personal. Keep it out of your professional conversations. Of course, if you have an unexpected medical event, such as falling flat on your face with influenza, and a project gets stalled as a result, then you need to let your client know. Otherwise, let him picture you sitting in your dedicated office all day forging perfect prose for him, not sitting on the couch in your jammies with little people surrounding you. The more professional he thinks you are, the more work you are likely to get.
As a web content writer, you rarely have the opportunity to actually talk to your clients. When the opportunity for client interaction arises, don’t blow it by making one of these mistakes. Stick to professional topics, keep it clean, listen carefully and show your full dedication to the project.
Nicole H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.