When you want to scale your freelance business, you can look to your past clients for help when drafting proposal templates and scope of work templates for new gigs. By asking for feedback from clients, you can prove to new prospects just how valuable your services are. Great reviews from happy customers are worth a lot online these days, so you shouldn’t underestimate how useful it is to get feedback after, and even during each project.
The power of social proof is growing in many industries, and the freelance space is no exception. Considering that around 85% of people trust the opinions of other consumers online, it’s clear that freelancers have a lot to gain by using client feedback as a marketing tool.
So, just how can we do that?
In a nutshell, asking for general feedback or design feedback from clients really comes down to simply asking them some direct questions and listening to their answers. However, your strategy matters.
In this article, we’ll see how to ask for customer feedback by email, and also consider other channels you can use to get the valuable feedback you need to attract new clients.
Regardless of what you do, whether it be writing or graphics design, web development or photography, there are plenty of questions that you will be able to ask your clients to get feedback.
Here are some basic questions to ask:
As a side note, that last question can lead to a request for referrals. Even if you can’t get direct referrals to new prospects, it’s worth asking your clients these types of questions. The only potential is that you may deter people by asking too many questions, and that could result in you struggling to get any useful feedback.
Let’s see how to do it the right way.
Millo founder, Preston Lee, reveals that his best clients “always came from word-of-mouth marketing. It always required much less convincing up-front and had a level of trust built-in."
However, no freelancer should rely on jobs to just land in their lap. You need to stay proactive to build up your freelance business. To create a good impression and hope for great feedback, you should send professional documents to your clients, be them proposals, contracts, or invoices. This is where Bonsai can help - sign up for your free trial today and generate documents from templates in just seconds.
When it comes to asking for feedback from clients, you should have a solid strategy that ensures you get what you need.
The process for getting feedback from freelance clients shouldn’t be too complex. That being said, if you take the time to create a simple system, it will be more likely to elicit useful responses.
If you’re really keen to gather the thoughts of your clients, you can create freelance contracts with Bonsai and stipulate the need for some written or verbal feedback when a project begins.
A good idea is to sketch out the projected workflow for how you deal with new clients. It may include the following stages:
From this basic outline, there are multiple points where feedback could be given prior to the final wrap-up call. Whatever your preferred process is, keep your clients in the loop so they know when they should provide feedback.
A report from Feedback Ferret claims that just 2% of people will bother to complete questionnaires from a brand. As a freelancer who is hungry for better work, those are pretty miserable odds.
Some clients may be a little nervous about giving feedback. They may be wary of accidentally offending your work and damaging the working relationship, so it’s easier not to rock the boat. However, freelancers should accept the value of constructive criticism – it can help develop your skills and identify flaws you didn’t know about.
The best way to make clients comfortable is to make it clear from the very outset. On the first call, and in early email updates about the project, encourage them to contribute with their thoughts. Ask them for their input at critical stages, particularly if you are unsure about how to complete a certain aspect of the project.
Additionally, you could even send them a customer feedback form to ask in preparation for your feedback call.
Reassure them you won’t take offense, and explain the value of the feedback for their project. This will put them at ease and allow them to feel free about expressing their thoughts.
Sometimes, even a great structure and constant reassurance aren’t enough to get clients to open up. When it comes to the end of a project, you may get the sense that the client is ready to just pay up and disappear into the ether.
Already, you’re lamenting the loss of what could have been an incredible testimonial for a challenging project that demonstrated your high-level skill set. When you’re building your freelance portfolio website, such feedback is rocket fuel for taking your career to the next level. Don’t just let these opportunities slip away.
By directly asking for feedback from clients throughout a project, you won’t just get social proof on your site in the end, but you’ll also be able to craft a superior end product that is more closely aligned with their initial vision.
Send a direct email that poses the key questions above and any others that are specific to this client and project. Once again, reassure them you’ll not take offense to their answers.
Sure, email is convenient. You can write one on the go, and it’s much easier and faster than scheduling a video call or in-person meeting. However, for the important conversations with your clients, email doesn’t always cut it.
If you want to know how to ask for customer feedback by email, you’ll find plenty of feedback email examples online. These range from the casual conversational ask to the long-winded professional letter type. Some even offer incentives like free entry into a promotion or contest in return for filling out a questionnaire.
It’s up to you, but the reality is that many people find the latter a little too sales-focused nowadays. Personalization counts, and therefore, if you make the efforts to engage your clients outside of your email inbox, you may get much better results.
There are plenty of ways to get feedback aside from email, such as:
In the end, a more personal and thoughtful interaction will give your client a platform to express their thoughts in greater detail, and you can ask follow-up questions immediately.
Your clients aren’t the only people that you can get social proof from. As a freelancer, you should always seek to build relationships with fellow freelancers and respected influencers in your industry.
Sometimes, the word of relevant people in your space is worth more value, even if you haven’t worked for them. A mentor or well-respected freelancer could endorse you on LinkedIn, which will add some clout to your profile when you’re reaching out to new prospects.
Alternatively, other people in your space may offer you some harsh but true objective insights about your work, as they are detached from it, unlike your clients.
It may sting, but it could help your work improve where it’s needed most. By using Bonsai to establish a professional freelancing business that has industry-standard contracts and invoicing, you’re sure to earn the respect and admiration of your existing clients and prospective new ones.
If you want more clients to value your work, you need to show that you have already got the backing of big clients, fellow freelancers, and thought leaders in your industry. The more good things people say about you and your work, the stronger your online reputation will be.
Not only that, but you will genuinely improve, as you will get objective insights about your work, and learn to enhance weaknesses in your skill-set. Over time, surrounding yourself with a network of great freelancers will allow you to become a great freelancer too. Asking for feedback from clients is all part of the journey.
Sign-up with Bonsai today to put your best foot forward with new clients.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?