As a rule I try to give a little more to my clients than their contracts allow. I do this, because everyone likes to get his or her money’s worth and it’s great to get that something extra special along with it. I always complete my work on time without errors. I’ve always known that as a virtual assistant, I have to set myself apart from other virtual assistants. I don’t have much money for advertising, so I use my work ethic and I give a little more than expected to boost my business.
This usually works well and I get additional projects from my clients, but recently, I had a client that expected more than the contract stipulated. I did her project as directed and gave her a little more in the way of several samples for brochures. While I usually give my clients a few samples of what they ask for, because it gives them more to choose from, this client was a little different.
Even with the extra work I gave her, she wanted me to re-work all of the samples I gave her. I tried to explain to her that the extra samples were just to give her some ideas. I had to explain to her that if she actually wanted to use all of the samples and have me re-work them, she would have to pay me extra for my time and work.
Sometimes, clients are so good at what they do that they have no idea how much time and work it takes to do other tasks. Just because I’m a professional, it doesn’t mean my time is free. I had to itemize in spreadsheet form, what the contract stated in one column and the extra things I actually did in the second column. Only after doing that did she realize that she got a lot more than she contracted for. After looking at the spreadsheet, she was more than willing to sign a new contract for the additional work and she understood the difference between giving a little more and expecting more work for free.
I learned a lesson from this situation. The lesson is: continue to provide more than the client asks for. It shows interest in their businesses and projects, but don’t go overboard. Explain at the initial interview that any additional work or projects are extra and need a new contract signed, dated, and payment received before any work can begin.
Giving a little extra may cross a fine line, but I still feel it is the best way to build up my client base and demonstrate that I am a professional and I really do partner with clients to help them develop and grow.
Do you know anyone who could use a virtual assistant? Contact Virtual Colleague, LLC at JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com