When you’ve worked within an industry for a significant amount of time you tend to know the ins and outs of your business, the correct terminology to use and the reasons behind each of your processes. However, when you work with new clients it’s easy to forget that your industry is completely foreign and unfamiliar to them. This is can often lead to confusion and frustration on both ends and can really hinder your ability to create solid and organic client relationships.
You can easily avoid these dilemmas by spending a little extra time educating your clients before and during your working relationship. As Paul Jarvis said – “Amateurs get frustrated with clients. Professionals educate them”.
WHY SHOULD YOU EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS?
It puts your clients at ease. Clients book your services for one of two reasons. The first is that they are unfamiliar with your industry and therefore are willing to pay for expertise, professionalism and skill. The other is that even if your clients are familiar with your industry, they are most likely unaware of your individual process and business practices.
Educating your clients on these topics clears up any concerns your clients may have and allows them to feel comfortable asking questions. This is crucial when building a solid client relationship and opening up communication.
It builds trust. Clients want to know that by hiring you as their photographer, they are in good hands and that they have invested their money well. By explaining your reasoning, business practices and showing your experience and knowledge, you affirm to your clients that you know what you’re talking about.
It demonstrates your expertise. Educating your clients shows that you are a professional. It shows them that you know what you’re talking about and that you have sufficient experience in your field. Your client feels more comfortable taking your advice and trusting your judgement if they consider you an expert.
It affirms your prices. Many of us like to know exactly what we’re getting for our money and the same is true for our clients. By educating your customers you can explain all that goes into your work and therefore affirm your pricing.
HOW DO YOU EDUCATE YOUR CLIENTS?
Set and manage your client’s expectations. Whenever we meet someone new we like to know exactly where our relationship is heading. So at the start of a new project make sure to outline what you can offer your clients, your business practices and processes, terms of service, how you would like to keep in contact and how long you expect the project to take. Break down your process and go into detail about each step, as well as what you will deliver and what you expect from your clients. This cuts out any potential misunderstandings, missed deadlines or confusion.
Speak simply. Every industry has special terms but if you fly into a client meeting spouting technical terms and acronyms they will feel out of their depth and confused. So try to use terminology that your clients will understand and then over time teach them the definitions of your fancy terms. Not only will this make sure everyone is on the same page but it will also benefit your working relationship.
Make your information accessible. There are many ways of educating your clients other than emails and phone calls. Try writing blog posts about topics that are often brought up with your clients. This will be beneficial in the future when a client asks about a certain topic and you can point them in the direction of a thorough blog post. Another helpful tip for educating your readers is to create an FAQ page on your website.
Ask your clients for questions. Every time you interact with your clients, ask them for questions. This will not only open up the communication between you and you clients but also makes sure you’re not leaving any stone unturned.
Do you try to educate your clients? How do you share information with them?