How to communicate with creative industry clients?
Jan 31 2 minutes read Gordon Barry
Working as a freelancer designer requires a multitude of skills outside of design, from handling your finances to posting daily on social media accounts.
One element that may seem unexpected is how to communicate with creative industry clients. This doesn’t happen all the time with every client, but when things get tricky there are a few ways to easily smooth things out.
Here is a small checklist to ensure your client communication is as pain-free as possible. If you’re not a freelancer, but would love to know more, we recommend reading another article we’ve put together. Freelancers, this is for you:
How to communicate with creative industry clients
Make sure you’re clear in communicating your capabilities and your capacity as a solo artist. It is helpful to have a realistic timescale of your services in mind. Let them know how much work you’ve got on, and be realistic with your timelines so you don’t give false hope or deliver the project past the deadline. Getting the job done correctly and creating a good relationship is much more important than under-delivering just to get a fee. Play the long game.
Own your title
You’re a freelancer, and that’s a great thing. There’s a reason the client has reached out to you versus an agency or a larger studio. Have the confidence to find out that reason, and use it to your advantage during the working relationship. This can also be useful to analyse what unique qualities you bring to the table, so you can advertise that to future clients.
Don’t write lengthy emails to make it look like you put a lot of effort into your comms. Be assertive and to the point. A warm opening or closing sentence is a great way to build rapport, but that’s as much as the email needs before it could turn into waffle.
Get it in writing
Communicating over the phone is a great way to get to know the client and to establish a strong working relationship. You’ll work out each other’s communication styles and it will benefit in the long run. That being said, details get quickly forgotten after a meeting, so it’s best to write down what has been agreed. Then you can send a follow up email after the call with all the details that were discussed, giving the client plenty of time to absorb, assess, and potentially change their mind.
As a freelancer, many people will think you’re working round the clock and that weekends don’t exist for you. If this is the case, then make that clear. If this isn’t the case, also make that clear. Freelance roles can have more fluid schedules than traditional office jobs, and you may be expected to work hours you’re not comfortable with. Establish the hours you want to work, and if the client wants to set your hours for you, then find a compromise to meet in the middle.
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