Part of a successful company’s brand is the ability of being easy to work with. The old expression “Treat people the way you want to be treated” is as important in business as in your personal life, and all of us want to deal with people who are easy to work with. As a graphic designer I am in a highly competitive industry, and being easy to work with is something that is absolutely necessary for me, and it really has nothing to do with my talent or skillset. It has to do with 6 very simple steps that I will talk about now
1. Make A Connection – People want to work with people they like. Are you likable? Do you build rapport with your clients? Get to know them personally, learn about their lives outside of work, and take a genuine interest in them as people, not just a clients or co-worker who’s there to do a job. I am friends with nearly all of my recurring clients and it has made me a better person.
2. Be Prompt in your communication – Responding to clients in a prompt manner goes a long way in being easy to work with. How many of you have waited for more than a few days on a response from a potential client, or from a service you have hired? It sucks being on the wrong end of bad communication. Again, treat folks as you want to be treated. If you promised a quote to someone in a day, deliver on it. Same with an email or phone call, Prompt communication is one of the best skills you can use to build trust and being easy to work with.
3. Make your clients life easier – If you want to gain people’s cooperation, make their life easier and they’ll love you for it. But how do you know what makes their job easier? Ask them! In my industry if someone doesn’t want to deal with gathering photos for their project, I do it for them. If they don’t know a good headline to use in a marketing piece, I’ll supply them with a few choices. These little conveniences go a long way in building trust. Clients have hired you to do what you are good at, and going the extra step to show it is a tremendous help to them.
4. Say Yes – You never want to be known as the person who says “no.” If you do, the invitations and opportunities will diminish. Saying yes opens up connections for you that would otherwise remain closed. People remember you when you say yes to specific requests and are more likely to refer you to colleagues and friends because of it. So say yes when you can and use “no” selectively.
5. Express Appreciation – Before, during, and after any service you provide, it is vital to express appreciation for the trust you have been shown. Clients could have used an array of other talented professionals, but in choosing you they put their faith and trust in you, and it is important to let them know how important that is to you. And don’t be shy about it. Expressing appreciation goes a long way and will lead to referrals and other opportunities.
6. Be trustworthy – Above all, be trustworthy. Follow through on your commitments, keep your word, act with integrity, demonstrate competence in your own work, be honest, admit mistakes, and apologize when necessary. Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and if you want to work well with others, it’s imperative you focus on building trust in the relationship. Trust starts with being trustworthy yourself.
So to sum up, connect with your clients, respond promptly when something is asked for, be an aspirin for your clients when necessary, say yes when you can, say thank you when you’re done, and leave your clients with a sense that you are trustworthy and easy to work with. Treat people with respect, expect the same in return. If you do this, the people you work with will feel better off by the experience and referrals should soon follow.