Yesterday I attended a free webinar courtesy of Copyblogger.com called “Engagement with a Purpose: How to Create Customers for Life - Authority Rules.” It’s part of an on-going series, so check it out if you can. Sonia Simone and Chris Garrett led the discussion. One thing really jumped out at me is when Chris said, " You don’t have to be the best writer, as long as you deliver what you promise –always do what you say because your reputation is your most valuable asset . "
A couple of years ago, after completing an extensive and rather exhausting project for a small business, the client thanked me graciously for my work and sticking with the project, even when it became difficult. He then made what was at the time a startling revelation. He said he was so glad to have found a reliable writer because he had been repeatedly burned in the past by writers not meeting deadlines.
This was surprising news to me, a writer who is always on the lookout for clients and paying projects. I can’t wrap my mind around why a writer would chance missing a deadline and thus getting paid (not to mention an opportunity for future work). I just don’t get it. Yesterday, during the webinar, Sonia and Chris confirmed that this is a big problem all around. They went on to explained that there are quite a few freelancers out there that don’t follow through, but if you can do that then you’re already ahead of the game.
Missing deadlines and not delivering the value that you promise a client is a big no-no in the freelancing world. When you hire someone to do something, you expect them to do it. If they don’t, you probably won’t bother contacting them in the future. You know that old saying: “Past behavior predicts future behavior.”
Sometimes things happen and deadlines can’t be met, or you realize it's best to end a client relationship. There’s a professional way to handle each scenario, starting with letting the client know as soon as possible. This is value your clients have every reason to expect from you. People like to work with people they like and can trust. Become the person your clients automatically turn to when they need top notch, dependable service. Set yourself apart from the freelancers that haven’t grasped this concept.