I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki’s book, “Enchantment,” which is all about how to profit by winning over the hearts and minds of people, specifically, customers, volunteers, employees and bosses
“Enchantment” has lots of great information in it, but I found one of the final chapters, “How to Enchant Your Boss,” to be particularly illuminating. That’s because for me, at least, I could swap out the word boss, and easily replace it with client. After all, when you are a solopreneur who provides a service for a client, like copywriting for instance, or web design, as another example, your client is your boss!
I had the pleasure of meeting Guy Kawasaki a couple of years ago when I attended Social Media Marketing World. If you’re not familiar with Guy, he is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool (which I love, by the way!). He is on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was also the chief evangelist of Apple.
Here are a few tips from the book on how you can enchant your own clients:
There’s no better way to enchant your client than to underpromise and overdeliver. Guy gives this advice, “…whenever you can, set a goal that you’re 120 percent sure you can hit in 80 percent of the allotted time.”
To this day, I follow this advice. Whenever I start working with a client, I estimate how long it’s going to take me to complete a project, and then I always add at least 10-20 percent more time as a buffer. Clients always appreciate it when you can deliver copy ahead of time.
Prototype Your Work
Guy’s next advice here is something I have followed as well. He says, “When you get an assignment from your boss (client), you should quickly complete part of the task and ask for feedback.”
When I write copy for a new website, I always submit an early draft to my client to make sure I understand the tone they want to convey, as well as the overall message. If you can do this with the projects you work on for your clients, I guarantee it will save you time and headaches in the long run. There’s nothing worse than to pour your heart and soul into a project only to find out that the client totally hates the idea. Get them on the same page early, and both of you will be much better off.
Guy also suggests that this is a good time to discuss options too. That’s because your prototype may be moving in one direction, but other directions may be just as viable, so it’s good to consider alternatives.
Show and Broadcast Progress
If your project is going to take weeks or even months to complete, like a website for instance, it’s important to give your client progress updates. I’ve heard complaints from too many business owners about web designers that took forever to get a job done. And worse, the web designer wouldn’t even communicate with the client about what was taking so long. It’s common courtesy folks! And good business. Remember, an enchanted client will sing your praises to everyone they know. If you want good referrals, you must do good work!
Deliver Bad News Early
One other point Guy mentions in the book is that it’s important to deliver bad news early. After all, good news is no problem. But if you’re going to miss a deadline, the client deserves to know. I gained a new client this year precisely because the person he hired to do the job before me didn’t let him know that he was going out of town and would be unable to complete his assignment. There were other factors too that contributed to his dismissal. But when the client told me this, I knew that I would always let him in on my plans because he had burned before. I didn’t want to treat him the same way. I wanted to enchant him. I know that I have, because he has continued to give me more work to do!