You’ve Landed a New Client🤩: Here Comes Time for the First Questions🤔
It can be challenging to establish yourself with new clients and get the ball rolling on performing project work for them. Starting off on the right foot and communicating openly out of the gate is essential to successful project planning.
The initial project planning conversation is critical for achieving your business goals and building proper strategies aimed at growth. Furthermore, it assists in creating a quality working relationship that leads to turning a new client into a satisfied repeat client.
Why Communication Is Important At The Initial Stage▶️
According to Art of communication in project management, the cost of poor communication comes dear in terms of cost increase and schedule overlap. To prevent missteps, communication needs must be placed as a centerpiece of project management particularly at the stage of planning.
It’s when you as have the opportunity to:
- take a client-oriented approach
- layout your deliverables
- define client expectations
- create the value for client business goals.
Hence, it is imperative you ensure the lines of communication are always open and clear. Below, there are golden rules that will help you navigate this route without fail.
It’s important your new client knows exactly what they will be getting. Yes, you discuss the specifics of what they are looking for, but it is also beneficial to outline things like:
- your communication preferences
- the time frames of feedback they can expect.
These simple 'set in stone' rules will save you a lot of back and forth down the road.
How it benefits you in practice: Either you prefer to communicate via email or have an unscheduled Zoom call to discuss the project on the go, it must be preset at the stage of planning. The scope of other questions may vary ranging from when clients expect the first draft to how long is the turnaround time for edits. Nailing down these types of details early on can help keep things humming along smoothly as the project progresses.
Be Consistent ⚖️
Once you have laid out what the expectations should be, stick to them. If you say that you are going to return edits within a designated time frame, make sure you keep up to your promise. If something comes up that prevents you from meeting the deadline, let them know right away. Make sure to apologize and keep them in the loop as to when they can anticipate your work to be complete.
How it benefits you in practice: Inconsistency causes shoddy performance; it doesn’t look good and results in losing clients. Therefore, providing the comfort of predictable and dependable service from a start is a must. As the saying goes, our first impressions are lasting ones.
Starting with a list of well-directed questions can help in better understanding the concept that a client expects you realize. Taking a driver seat can be the right approach in some cases: ask clients questions they didn't even know to ask.
Just refrain from questions related to professional niche. For instance, “What specific words would your audience use to search for your services?” is a catch for SEO expert but your client is not supposed to have the expertise or know how it is defined.
How it benefits you in practice: Communication always implies readiness to answer client potential questions. The simple way of managing them is 'putting yourself in their shoes': it lets take a new perspective, expect what questions can raise in the process and forecast client ongoing needs.
Keep Accurate Records ⌚⏱️⌚
In addition to basic project guidelines, maintaining ongoing documentation of all the things you’ve discussed can help you remember the exact specifics for each individual client.
How it benefits you in practice: Choosing the time tracking software that easily integrates in multiple project management tools will guarantee you keeping detailed records of all of your communications and saving efforts letting you focus exclusively on listening to client input.
Say “No” the Nice Way (If Necessary) 🔇
Try to skirt around saying “no” directly if possible, and offer an alternative solution. Always be respectful and empathetic. This may be the first time the client has decided to opt for this kind of service, and they don’t understand the scope of what they might be asking.
How it benefits you in practice: Clear and effective communication helps you set healthy boundaries and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Set priorities on what's absolutely important to accomplish the project and acknowledge what's not: it will give grounds for saying 'no' the right way.
Now, yes, it’s alright to say no to certain things, but also do your best to be flexible. Is your client on the opposite coast and that means communicating during your normal “off-hours”? Sure, that’s not ideal but still providing rapid responses rather than delaying 'humanizes' business. Eventually, once you establish a rapport, you can discuss adjustment to the time difference.
How it benefits you in practice: Try to be as receptive as possible when working with a new client. Each project is vastly different but making accommodations for a client’s specific needs will pay off in the long run by creating the personal brand of yours as a service provider.
Keep It Precise🎯 and Regular 🗓️
Keeping the clients updated and consistently in the loop will make them feel being personally involved in the process. In most cases, deepening the client engagement facilitates cooperation and assists in building productive relations.
How it benefits you in practice: Tailoring to client needs implies unbroken workflow that is constructed through precise and regular communication creating the clear channel of transparency and well-provided feedback.
- Effective communication is built around principles of openness, honesty, and regularity.
- Managing client expectations implies maintenance of the set standards by showing predictability and reliability consistently.
- Taking time at the planning stage and not saving on detail is worth the initial time investment.
- Keeping and updating accurate records of communication is the key as it is the only way to be transparent and provide data client has right to ask for (the best way to achieve it is to apply time tracking ensuring accuracy).
- Also, it’s acceptable to say no if the occasion truly calls for it (but being amenable to unique requests is a must).
You’ve landed that new client, and now, with taking the right communication approach, you are entitled to having a unique experience of building solid business relations.