51% of contract workers don’t get benefits. A similar percentage have work that varies in volume from month to month. In other words, freelance work or contract work isn’t stable.

Why is this so? I mean, the no benefits part makes sense. Who is going to give you benefits? Certainly not your clients. But the unstable unpredictable nature of contract work, its source is varied.

A majority of the time, however, it’s time wasted on failed contracts or failed proposals. Yeah, you charge for your time or for the proposal, but the work wasn’t what you hoped for.

How do you get clients to accept a contract or proposal the first time? Are you missing something? Let’s take a look.

Know Your Client Like You Know Your Mother

You know your mom. You know what foods she likes, what behavior makes her happy, what kinds of people she likes to hang with, and what things she likes to do with you. She’s mother and you’ve spent your whole life getting to know her.

You need to know your client almost that well. Yes, this takes a bit of research. But if you want a more assured connection, then you need to understand how they work.

Your client likely advertises their personality. Perhaps they have a LinkedIn or they’re on social media. They likely have a website.

If you can find customer feedback on your client, do so. You’ll see both their strengths and weaknesses there.

Do they have an in-house team who does what you do? Find out how they operate and then show how you do things better or differently.

Keep Your Client Close…No, Closer!

If you’re at all like me, you like to do your work in one straight shot. Get it all done at once. You might hole yourself up in a basement just to get the work done and not come out for a few days.

This isn’t a good way to do business. Clients don’t like hermits. They like people who are willing to communicate.

This is why it’s imperative you keep your client up to date on everything you’re doing from the start. This means creating the proposal or contract.

If you do create the thing in your basement away from the light of day and prying eyes, you’ll get too attached. You’ll become like Frankenstein and once it reaches the client, you’ll never want to change it.

You’ll end up doubling down on things you shouldn’t. And that’s not going to fly for your client.

Instead, do your work in the light of day. You’ll get more Vitamin D and you’ll be more likely to convince your client their voice matters.

Make it Easy to Say YES!

If they have to print off your contract, fill it out, sign it, or revise it, then scan it back into a computer and attach it to an email, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Why? Because that’s a lot of hoops.

Not all your clients are going to be Don Draper with a secretary at their beck and call. Their time is precious. Treat it that way.

How do you treat their time like it’s precious? Streamline the process.

Use an esignature program. Something they can quickly tap or use their mouse to sign.

Make the contract amendable with tracking changes so you can instantly see what they’re hoping for. There are plenty of tools out there that make collaboration on such things possible.

Give Them All the Solutions!

The worst car commercials are the ones that start with “look at how many features this vehicle has!” A salesy voiceover will spill into your living room and proclaim the number of awards the vehicle’s won and how many buttons it has. And then you’ll go back to watching your tv show and forget everything they just said.

Why? Because you only care that a car does what it’s supposed to. Get you from point A to point B efficiently and in style. You don’t care if it has reclining seats. You care if it will fit your whole family plus dog.

This is how you need to approach your client. Not with the feature of your service, but with the solutions it creates.

Is your service time-saving? Does it bring more money? If so, key into what that money will give them. More clients? Pay more employees? More money in their pockets?

If your service or product saves time, will it make them more efficient too? What does your product or service do for the client? Highlight that.

They Object Too Much

You get the thing in their hands and they want half of the contract rewritten. You’re left with extra time spend and an itch in your scalp. How could you’ve gone so wrong?

The answer is easy. You didn’t take the time to imagine their objections. When crafting your contract or proprosal, you must create objections based on what you know of the client.

You won’t be able to anticipate everything. But if you are confident in your insight, you can know most of what’s coming at you.

The other side of the coin is curveballs. Some clients like to test people before signing a contract. This means they’ll throw things out of left field just to see if you’ll catch it.

In this case, you must remain calm. Focus on your objectives. Continue to present the solutions. And allow time for Q&A when presenting your proposal.

Just a Little Bit of Luck

What keeps clients from rejecting your contract? Honesty, connectedness, preparation, and knowledge. Oh, and a little bit of luck.

And as always, be sure to follow up with your client.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.