7 Tips to Have a Smooth Relationship with Your Clients and Keep Them
Avoiding bad clients is one hard problem to solve, but keeping good clients is not an easy task either. When you work as a freelance filmmaker/cinematographer/editor, you usually first take the first contracts you can get, no matter the pay and/or the client, and you learn with time, trial and errors, what you should repeat or avoid, and what you are willing to do and accept for X amount of money.
Adam Miller, Aetuts+‘s site editor, shares some precious tips to have a smooth relationship with your clients that will make you save a lot of time if you aren’t already using them:
Tip 1 – Establish a Deadline
This is by far my favorite tip and probably the most useful one. I used to assume clients would get back to me in timely fashion, since they are paying to have a video, but I had sometimes to wait a month before getting notes back, and then would receive 7 emails in a row… You probably know the drill. So, set deadlines to help you and your client be on the same page and move forward together.
Tip 2 – Talk a Little and Talk a Lot
Talk a lot: update your clients regularly on what you are doing. Talk a little: be concise, be precise, be short.
Also: learn what’s your client’s favorite way of communicating: phone, emails, texts, skype etc. and adopt it.
Tip 3 – Don’t Be Someone Else
Don’t pretend you are a Studio if you are a one person crew. As long as you can do it, be confident you can do it. “Focus on your strengths”
Tip 4 – Give A or B Choices
Clients like to give their opinion, even if there is no need to. Miller’s great advice is to ask for the client’s opinion within a defined context. Don’t wait for them to say ‘I don’t like this font/music/color’, because this only mean you will have to try 45 other times, shooting in the dark. Offer them a choice between two or three fonts/music/color, and only if they don’t like any of those, will you have to go look for two/three others.
Tip 5 – Don’t Try to Educate, Ask Questions Instead
As Miller points out, nobody will get mad at you for asking a question. So ask as many questions as you need to understand the client’s needs, instead of using professional jargon or assuming they know what are all the steps and little decisions they need to make to have a final product, and wait for them to guide you.
Tip 6 – Adopt Their Babies
“Get passionate about what they are passionate about.” Understand what your client’s sensitivity is, what is his/her goal with this video, show interest and apply what you’ve learned to work on the video. This almost goes back to StillMotion’s tip on finding keywords that will give you a direction for your video. The keywords were coming from understanding their client’s wants and needs. Same here.
Tip 7 – Try to Know People in the Organization You’re Working For
Miller makes a very interesting point, advising that you don’t just limit yourself to your point of entry within an organization, but try to diversify your connections, so if something happens to the person who tipped you for the job, you don’t lose a client. Or at least you still have a chance to see them coming back.
Watch the full video below:
Thanks to Patrick Inhofer