Charm and personality: your keys to great reviews
Contracting is all about the next job. Getting paid today is good, but knowing that you have a check coming again next week is even better. Figuring out how to get those positive recommendations is a matter of putting in hard work at the right price, but there are things that you can do outside of your skill-set that might make getting future work a bit easier. If you are willing to pour on the charm and become a friendlier contractor, you might become the "go-to" person for a larger group of people.
Remind your customers that you are not just a professional but a person. This means dropping a few words about your life outside the job, joking around (in a very non-offensive manner) and generally interacting with the customer as if he or she is a new acquaintance instead of the person who is paying you for a job. If the customer doesn’t bite, you can still stay genial and get back to full-professional mode. If he or she does, though, you can continue being a bit more relaxed about your interactions.
Genuine charm is going to be a big deal here, so make sure that you pay attention. You want to be the kind of person that your customer wants in his or her home again, not the kind of person who needs to be shown the door immediately. Make sure you spend a little time getting to know your customer, getting to know his or her personality and playing to his or her strengths. Ask your customer questions and listen to their answers – show empathy! When the customer feels like you understand and care, not only will you appear quite charming and worthy of a few more recommendations, but it helps open the lines of communication and builds the relationship with trust and confidence.
This is where things get interesting, though – you have to make sure that your personality is memorable enough for that all-important review process. You already know that your customers may be taking to the Internet after you leave, either leaving a negative review because you made a minor mistake or letting others know how great your service was. If you want to make sure that the latter is more likely than the former, you need to make sure that the customer remembers you just as much as the job that was done. It is far more difficult to leave a bad review about a person than a job, so you have to make people remember that you are a human being.
In short, you need to present yourself as a memorable, charming human being to make sure that you get the best possible reviews. Being a knowledgeable, hard worker is always going to pay your bills, but having a memorable personality and being someone who puts his or her customers at ease is going to get you more work. As a bonus to you, the entire work day should be a little bit more pleasurable if you remember the importance of the social aspects. The good reviews and recommendations will help your bank account, but there is nothing that says that the process can't leave you feeling a bit better about yourself as a person as well.