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As we wind down this year’s Writers Worth Month, I thought it would be appropriate to look at ways in which we can improve our own opinions of ourselves. When I think of the message I want to send to clients and prospective clients, one word keeps coming up:
Nothing says more about who you are and what you’re worth than the quality you bring to the job. It was important enough for me to add it to my book Marketing 365:
213. Stick with quality.
Start being remembered for the value you bring – increase
the quality of all content you generate. Make every communication with your
customers and prospects both relevant and useful. They have to relate to what
you’re saying and selling, and it has to have a practical application to them.
That means you need to know your customers and know what it
is they want or need. Now is the time to do your homework and ask questions.
Then give them what they’ve asked for. Every time.
So how do you exercise quality exactly? Try these ways:
Ask great questions. I’ve mentioned this before, and it bears repeating: when you ask smart questions, you get to know exactly what your clients want. Imagine handing in that first project and nailing it — how much does your stock go up when that happens? Plenty. Pay attention, take notes, hit the tape recorder. Your client knows what he/she wants. If you listen, you’ll know, too.
Bring more to the conversation. Don’t just arrange to talk to a client about a project; make sure that talk includes your full knowledge of their business. How impressed will they be when they’re telling you about work they need for ABC business unit and you ask “Are you looking to align this message with that of your DEF business unit?”
Give beyond what’s expected. I tend to give editors sidebars where and when I can. They don’t expect the additional content, and they usually end up using what I send. You can do the same for editors, and for clients. They want a website revision – why not give them that plus copy for a page that’s missing? You wrote the white paper, so why not create a few graphics to go along with it? Not that you have to suddenly become a designer, but where it’s not going to take too much time, give them an added value.
Give thorough updates. That project is two months long. Do you accept it and get back in touch when you deliver? Keep your client in the loop — I like to give weekly updates (where necessary) letting them know what I’ve done and what’s next. That helps because they can see progress, and they can be involved in your process. Plus it keeps you on the same page. I like to give bulleted lists, like one I sent a client two weeks ago that listed what I was doing and asked if there was anything missing.
Writers, how do you deliver quality to your clients?