A solid reputation isn't built overnight. One of the underlying factors that make a service provider the go-to of clients is trust. In a business relationship, trust keeps both employer and freelancer on the same ground despite distance, time, and language barriers, among other things. Trust is built and then maintained by actions both big and small.
Here we have listed five important things you can do to earn trust and build rapport with clients:
Communicate Clearly and Consistently
Conversations with clients should be regular and consistent. Even if they didn't ask, make it a habit to update them on the status of the project. It allows clients to rest easy, knowing that you are on top of things and that they have nothing to worry about. If you do encounter a roadblock, inform them immediately and suggest solutions. This keeps their expectations realistic.
Stick to Your Commitments
If you commit to finish a task at a certain deadline, do it. Never agree to anything you can't deliver. This is where novice freelancers get into dilemmas with employers. In their desire to get the job, they agree to unrealistic timetables and find excuses later on.
Inform clients what you can and can't do. If you are convinced that their demand is over the top, discuss it with them in order to create a workaround. If it's absolutely out of scope, decline politely, no matter how big is at stake. Be open to the idea that clients can get the right services they need elsewhere rather than doing it yourself badly and risking your hard-earned reputation.
There are plenty to be honest about -- skills, capabilities, number of staff members, pricing, etc. Don't distort the truth in your favor to be picked for the job. Just one uncovered lie blows up your chance of creating a lasting working relationship with clients.
And another thing: don't be afraid to admit to mistakes. Employers will appreciate if you explain what happened, what countermeasures were done, and how to avoid running into the same problem in the future. If you managed to solve it with flying colors before telling them, then great, but if not, you might face some serious trust issues.
Listen and Ask Questions
Asking questions is an opportunity to learn more, notice things, and come up with great ideas. It also shows that you are interested in the job, making clients more comfortable with working with you. By knowing more about them and what they do, you also get better chances at producing work that suits their business. Albeit indirectly, you become a part of their companies.
Building solid and genuine trust results in repeat business and referrals. You'll also feel confident about yourself and your work knowing that you have met and even surpassed your clients' expectations.