Whether you’re a one-person-show doing only SEO or a full-fledged agency doing everything, what’s the one thing all client’s need from their contractors?
There is a fundamental problem with a large number of employees in today’s marketplace, and that problem is that many individuals have a difficult time visiting with clients or other individuals. Whether the problem stems from intimidation, lack of confidence, laziness, or misinterpreted social cues, it doesn’t matter, it’s still something that needs to be addressed. I cannot tell you how many friends I’ve had that have received jobs based merely on the fact that they were not only comfortable, but willing to talk with clients. The technical skills of a position can often be learned, but if you’re not comfortable visiting with a client, then it can be difficult to climb the ladder within your career.
It’s easy to forget or to put off communicating with a client. Things can get extremely busy at the office, and while you know you’re working hard on a project, the client doesn’t always know that. That’s why it’s so important to provide daily (if not more frequent) updates, even if not a lot of progress was made on a project.
Touching base with a client doesn’t only benefit the client and your relationship with them, but it can also help to sharpen your communication skills. Many medium to large sized agencies have individuals who work in account management, retention, and sales who do most of the talking, but once again, it’s not a bad idea to insert yourself into the process to hone your skills.
Now to be clear, I understand that not every work position requires you to engage in client communication, but regardless, it’s still a great skill to possess.
Here are five easy steps you can take to improve your communication skills and make yourself more marketable:
- Trust yourself. Learn to trust yourself and your opinions. They are just as important as anyone else’s.
- Critique. Don’t get discouraged when your ideas aren’t being received well or implemented the way you would like. Critique is a necessary part of finding the best idea and method. Keep at it, and someday you’ll see your ideas being implemented.
- Be positive. On that note, receive feedback positively. Whether it comes directly from a client or a manager at work, take any feedback or suggestions in stride and learn from them.
- Just talk. Start communicating more frequently with your manager about the project you’re working on. Work yourself up to the point where you would feel comfortable discussing one item with the client, then continue to build from there.
- Be proactive. Get out of your comfort zone by being proactive. Whether you use a project management software like Basecamp, Hubspot, Trello, etc. or you just prefer to communicate via phone or email, go out of your way to regularly touch base with your client. Even if it’s just to check in and ask how things are going and if there’s anything the client would like to see.