Freelancers: How to minimize mistakes by managing your client’s expectations.

Posted on May 20, 2010


Here is a viewpoint that 99.990125% of freelancers miss: managing expectations of the client from the beginning. This is where most mistakes originate from.

Why do freelancers miss this viewpoint?

The reason why is because freelancers don’t view the process of acquiring a client as a sales process. The sales process is the act of communicating effectively so you can close the deal with confidence.

Here is a simple breakdown of the sales process:

  1. Client hears about you through XYZ source
  2. Client contacts you
  3. Client questions and wants to negotiate with you
  4. You listen and manage their expectations by defining their needs, so you question them. Question your client until both of you see eye-to-eye. This is crucial because MOST CLIENTS SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE and HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD. Get to know them like the back of your hand.
  5. Have them sign the contract and close the sale.

Now…. I have had my fair share of mismanaging client expectations because I did not ask the right questions nor was I communicating effectively. And yes, I have extensively renegotiated terms of contracts, reduced my profit margins by more than 20%, lose clients, and had clients use the F bomb in a sentence more than 5 times.

Mismanaging expectations has a trickle down effect. It will lead to messing up the sale and when you get into production with the client.