Some say passion, ambition, dedication and sleepless nights are the secrets to online success. I, on the other hand, beg to differ. My online career began 8 years ago this January, and there’s one thing that keeps my business thriving. More importantly, this one thing is what keeps my business growing. So whether you’re a freelance writer, fashion blogger, Youtube sensation or someone who wants to take advantage of everything the Internet has to offer, you’ve come to the right place.
This is the one secret online entrepreneurs and gurus don’t want you to know.
It’s the only thing that can separate you from the thousands of people doing exactly what you’re doing.
And today, I’m going to spill the beans because I’m more than just a successful freelance writer and content marketer who lives with complete freedom and full control of my life. I am also a mentor for anyone interested in being successful online and who wants to break out of the 9-to-5 job. So what’s the big secret?
My friends continuously joke, “Oh, there’s Chantal and her rapport,” because I always ‘have a guy for that,’ or ‘ know someone,” who can do whatever it is you’re looking for. This shows that my clients have built rapport with me just as much as I have with them because I’m always referring them without even knowing it. I feel like I know my clients, they’re my friends, they can be trusted and I can reach out to them – and that, my friends, is quality rapport.
As per dictionary.com:
a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.
In order to achieve success online, you must build strong relationships with those who surround you within your industry – clients, competitors, and prospects.
You can book every job in the world and be the best at what you do, but if clients don’t feel connected to you in one way or another, it’ll be hard to obtain repeat business. Once you start working online, you’ll quickly realize that repeat business is the best business, yet it’s difficult to obtain online. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees and your services aren’t free. So, how are you going to make companies see the value of spending money hiring your services?
Just think of it like this – anyone can write online; anyone can do Youtube videos or post Instagram photos, but it takes the right kind of
personality rapport to turn those online postings into a business. The only thing separating you from the next Youtube sensation is the ability to build a strong relationship with your clients.
Here are some things you need to implement into your daily business practices in order to build rapport when you’re an online business.
Speak to your clients and audience
Forget those generic automatic responses. They aren’t doing anything for your rapport. There’s nothing worse than receiving, “Thanks for following my Instagram. Please like every single one of my photos on my feed and comment and share and repost and…” This is never going to allow clients to feel connected to you or your business.
Instead, you need to speak to your clients. Put your heart and personality into your responses. This doesn’t mean your replies and social media postings have to be long and drawn out, but rather, carefully planned and written.
Love the follow! I can’t believe I’m only finding your company now. Your branding is on point. Can you say, Hello Boho!
All communication needs to be personalized and specific to whomever you’re talking to. So forget the massive “spam” comments on Instagram photos just so people will see your account. If it’s generic, it’s perceived as spam and working against your rapport.
…Or worse, “Check out my feed!”
Instead, add something that shows you’ve taken invested some time and effort into the company, even if it was 3 seconds to look at a picture.
“Love the [product in the photo] booties!”
“Nice view. I love[whatever the picture is of] Toronto.”
Let your clients know who you are and what you’re about
In order to survive in such a competitive world, you need to leave your monotonous attributes at the front door. In order to build rapport online, you need a personality. It’s the only way to make clients feel like they know you, and feel like they can relate to you. So, stop hiding you and your brand’s unique attributes. It’s those unique attributes that are going to book a job and encourage repeat business.
If a client feels like they know and like who you are, they will want to work with you further. Otherwise, you’re just a service provider that can be easily replaced because there’s absolutely no connection between you and the client. You are seen as a number, as opposed to a relationship.
This is an important business tip for online careers, whether a freelance writer, Youtuber or fashion blogger because companies want to know if you’re fit for their brand. If your online presence makes you look like a Plain Jane, prospective clients won’t see the value you bring to their success.
So, be who you are, leverage your personality and let clients see what you can bring to their business. Don’t shy away from what makes you different because companies are going to hire you because of you.
Anyone can do what you’re doing, but not everyone can do it the way you can and that’s because of your personality. That’s what’s going to get you hired.
Discover what your clients are about and build on that
You won’t like every client that comes your way but, hopefully, you’ll enjoy the majority of them. While the old saying goes, “Never mix business with pleasure,” I like to argue the opposite – as long as you’re being appropriate. In fact, I encourage freelance writers, Youtubers, and small online business owners to surpass the business boundary and become friends with their clients.
And it all starts with getting to know them. In order to build rapport, you have to find a common interest that you and your client can build a friendship on. For fashion bloggers, freelance writers, social media influencers and Instagram models, it can be as simple as liking what the company sells or that the company is from your hometown, but it can also be much more complex than that.
As a rule of thumb, research each one of your clients. Follow their social media pages, check out their ‘About Us’ section on their website and discover what can form a unique relationship with each client. Then, build on that.
If you’re aspiring to be a fitness Instagram model and find a local yoga client, use this as a conversation starter and connect with prospects within the first message by talking about yoga.
For long term or previous clients, get in the habit of reaching out to them when you haven’t spoken in a while. Send a short email asking how business is going, or how their vacation was (that you saw on their Instagram because you’re so connected with their brand). If you build rapport properly, this won’t feel like a chore because your clients are your friends and you’ll genuinely be excited and eager to chat.
Learn how to read people
Before you put any of these tips for online success into action, you have to learn how to read your clients. You wouldn’t walk into a job interview for a CEO position in the same way you would walk into a job position at a fast food restaurant. Why is that, you ask? Because you need to appeal to who you are dealing with and the only way to do that is to consider the client and their brand, and learn how to read them.
If I realize a client is stuffy and precise and sticks straight to business talk, I know to cut our conversations short – no bullshit. On the other hand, if a client starts communication on a lighter note, I know rapport can easily be built simply by being myself. They’re open to casual conversation.
So read your clients before and during your interactions. By doing so, you can strategize an approach to build rapport moving forward.
Be excited about their business
Trying to achieve success online is hard to do. After all, the Internet is wildly competitive and anyone can do what you’re doing, but not everyone can do it how you do it. So don’t be threatened by other freelance writers, Youtube gurus, and businesses that are similar to yours. Embrace them; learn from them and collaborate.
I would say 90% of my clients are now great friends of mine, or at the very least, I can shoot them a message when in need – and vice versa. Why? Because I’ve implemented these online business tips; I discovered who each client is and what they’re about, and built rapport based on that.
What’s your secret to online success?