#223: How to Build Strong and Lasting Client Relationships That Turn You into an Indispensable Resource

We often think it’s our writing skills and track record that get us hired. 

But often, it’s really the other stuff — our soft skills — that matter the most 

The craft of writing is important, of course. But it’s these soft skills that allow us to build strong and lasting relationships with clients.  

In this podcast episode, I describe three levers you can pull to become an indispensable resource to your clients and to foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.  

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Three Levers to Becoming Indispensable to Your Clients 

Pulling three levers can make you indispensable to your clients OUTSIDE of just producing results for them: 

  1. Understand what they’re going through. 
  1. Be super-easy to work with. 
  1. Capitalize on trust. 

Lever #1: Understand what they’re going through 

You need to understand what marketing directors (and other marketers who hire writers/copywriters) are going through in their jobs. 

Most of these folks wear a ton of hats and are under a lot of pressure. Writing and copywriting is just ONE of the things they have to outsource and manage. 

In the middle of all that, they’re getting pitched by writers who don’t seem to know the first thing about their company … or who offer pitches that are irrelevant or generic.  

And then when they DO hire a copywriter, they’re difficult to work with, don’t meet deadlines, and are high maintenance.  

Why don’t you become an oasis in the middle of all this craziness? 

Lever #2: Be super-easy to work with 

Being super-easy to work with has two components: dependability and joy. 

Dependability means you: 

  • Meet deadlines every time. 
  • Are on time for all meetings and calls. 
  • Are responsive with email, turnaround time, etc. 
  • Submit error-free work (Tip: ProofreadNOW.com changed things for me). 
  • Are professional in your behavior and demeanor. 
  • Set boundaries but are willing to make exceptions as needed. 
  • Charge enough that you don’t have to charge “rush fees.”  
  • Can take constructive criticism. 
  • Are not a prima donna. 

Being dependable makes clients happy. Bringing them joy makes them clients for life! 

Being dependable makes clients happy. Bringing them joy makes them clients for life! 

This is NOT a personality thing! You don’t have to be extroverted or have a certain type of personality to be likeable. 

Joy means you: 

  • Genuinely like your clients. 
  • Genuinely care about their business. 
  • Genuinely care about making them look good. 
  • Submit some drafts ahead of time. 
  • Provide extra ideas, suggestions, tips and perspectives for them to consider. 
  • Treat projects as if you are the owner of the business. 
  • Think about their business while “off duty.”  
  • Connect them to others. 
  • Get to know some of them personally. 
  • Continually think of ways you can delight them. Send them a thank you note. Mail them an article. Text or message them on their birthday. Surprise them with a thoughtful gift 

Lever #3: Capitalize on the trust you build 

Don’t wait for your clients to send you work. Bring ideas to the table! Think about their business throughout the week, even when you’re off duty.  

Remember, your contact is in fire-fighting mode, which leaves little headspace for creative problem solving and brainstorming.  

As an outsider, you see things they might not see. When you see opportunities, suggest them.  

When you see new opportunities for a client, suggest them.  

Get out of the “order taking” business. Take a proactive stance.  

Offer complementary services, even if they’re offbeat services, such as graphic design or video production (explainer videos). Offer turnkey solutions 

Retainers are another huge opportunity (but I recommend you only pursue them with clients with whom you already have a good relationship). 

The benefit of this approach is much MORE than earning a higher income. They include: 

  • Longer-term clients 
  • Increased income predictability 
  • Earn more in less time 
  • Landing new clients as your trusted contacts move on to other companies 
  • More fun 
  • More trusting clients 
  • More (quality) referrals 
  • More time for side projects/side hustle. 

It takes a lot to find, land and onboard a new client.  

So, I decided a long time ago that I’d rather wait to find the right clients — and then go deep and wide with them.  

As it turns out, it was a great decision.  

And if you want to have a fun and profitable business, I suggest you do the same.  



By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers.

You’ll discover a different way to think about your challenges during this crisis. Plus you’ll get clear recommendations to get you through the storm safely … and to come out the other side stronger than ever. — Click Here

2. Download a free copy of my book for writers who are NEW TO FREELANCING.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  Click Here

3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories) … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just hit reply, put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll back to you with more details.