Building strong relationships is an essential ingredient in the recipe for business success, especially when you’re a freelancer, which is why it’s only natural that you wish to be approachable and personable at all times.
However, it’s equally important to remain professional at all times. Frankly, displaying appropriate behavior should be at the top of your agenda, particularly when dealing with clients, as failure in this aspect can quickly lead to lost sales or opportunities.

While we all enter business communications with the best intentions, we can often be inappropriate without realizing it. Here are 5 top tips for staying on the right side of your customers.

Tip 1: Don’t Use Profanity

The first tip is an obvious one, but you’d be amazed at how many freelancers drop F-bombs and other inappropriate terms while speaking to clients. While it’s certainly true that not everyone will be offended by swearing, those that are offended may take their custom elsewhere solely based on your choice of language. Besides, turning the air blue creates an unprofessional atmosphere.

It’s better to be safe than sorry by erring on the side of caution.

Tip 2: Respect Physical Boundaries

When meeting a client in person, the urge to hug or kiss on the cheek can be huge. Unfortunately, this can make some people feel awkward, which instantly puts your hopes of concluding the meeting with a positive outcome in jeopardy. Nobody will be offended by a handshake and a smile, It’s OK to be friendly  but, it’s always best to keep your colleagues at arm’s length until they at least become your BFF’s right?

It could prevent an unnecessary lawsuit borne out of miscommunication too.

Tip 3: Stay Professional In Digital Communications

An increasing number of interactions now take place over email, messaging Apps, and other tech devices. While you may casually drop Xs into conversations with friends, you should avoid doing this with clients. Likewise, you should give careful consideration as to whether sending a winking emoji or text speech like ‘lol’ is deemed appropriate behavior too.

There are situations, such as public social media posts, where this is fine. For one-on-one interactions, though, stay strictly professional.

Tip 4: Be Respectful Of Others

It’s not uncommon for clients to ask freelancers on their opinions regarding industry development, competitors, or employees within their own companies. It’s absolutely fine to provide constructive criticism when it’s fair. However, unnecessarily slagging off or gossiping about another party is highly inappropriate. Worse still, it will cost you dearly.

After all, if you’re happy to slag others off behind their backs, clients will fear that you’ll do the same about them.

Tip 5: Respect The Rules

When meeting a client in their workplace, you need to treat it with respect. Littering, misusing disabled privileges when you don’t require them, and generally showing a lack of consideration could cost you dearly as clients will quickly lose respect. Those rules should be respected when meeting in public venues or even at your own premises too.

Acting in an appropriate fashion won’t guarantee success, but it’ll certainly have a positive influence on client interactions. Underestimate it at your peril.

Feel free to comment below on how you act in public and with your customers and if you have seen situations you would rather not have

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Andrew Palmer
Andrew is the founder of Elegant Marketplace.