Just got off the phone with a PR professional I recently hired to help market my book. We’ve been working together for a month, and I let her know I was unsatisfied with the work so far, since I hadn’t seen any progress. Happily, she went on to explain all the things she’d been doing — things which were invisible to me.
Here’s the point: When you sell a service that is done in your office (as opposed to in your client’s office), it’s worthwhile to help the client “see” what you’re working on. Particularly in the beginning — when they don’t yet have enough experience with you to trust that it’s all going as it should — the more you can do to keep them in the loop the better.
Examples of keeping them in the loop include a work plan for the coming weeks/months; brief, weekly email updates; scheduled weekly phone calls; or (depending on the kind of work you do) a look at your work in progress.
Experienced professionals understand the importance of getting some payment up front, before beginning work with a client. Keep in mind, however, that the client (who’s now paid you that money), expects something in return. The more you can do to assure them that the work is underway as promised, the happier a client you’ll have.