Reporting progress to clients is an essential part of maintaining relationships. But why does this matter? Well, relationships are how you get many of your clients. It’s a major part of how you grow your freelance business. You shouldn’t just “wing it” when it comes to client management, however. This is a time consuming process, but you don’t want it to take too much of your time. As a result, having a specific process in place to foster good relationships can help keep your margins high.
A critical aspect of a healthy client relationships is reporting progress. Monthly reports are ideal because they provide a medium for monthly dialogue (which they like) and it helps simplify the complex. Unless the client is really technical, then insights should be provided in a format that is easy to digest and the client can take action on. This video from Coursera teaches you how to leverage white labels and Excel spreadsheets to report progress to your clients. You’ll also learn the important of establishing benchmarks and tracking individual metrics. And while the lesson doesn’t state this, show your report to a friend before turning it into the client. This is especially important if it’s your first time. If your friend doesn’t understand it, then why would your client? (NOTE: The video is specific to someone offering SEO services, but the key takeaways can be applied to almost any business. You don’t have to create and account to watch the video but we highly recommend it as Coursera has lots of great video content).
Remember, the goal of reporting progress to clients is to keep them happy. Many new freelancers fail to keep clients happy because they only focus on the work they’re assigned. But clients don’t just hire you for your work, they hire you to work with you – the person. It’s not just business, it’s a relationship. Don’t commit the cardinal sin of signing a contract and then disappearing without ever updating the client on progress. Chances are you’re going to deliver your hard work but then be surprised that the client isn’t satisfied. Process makes perfect, so determine beforehand how you’re going to handle reporting. Additionally, set clear expectations on how communication will dealt with in your contract.
Client management may not be your favorite thing to do, but it can save and GROW your business.