In this economy, there is someone who is willing to take on more work at 2/3 of your price. I’ve experienced this price-cutting firsthand as long-term unemployed writers and PR folks turn to freelancing to make ends meet. I don’t begrudge the competition; in fact, I welcome it. Why? In addition to meeting deadlines and turning in quality copy, I also work hard to create value and to communicate effectively with clients.

If a client is price-shopping, there’s nothing you can do about that. But I’ve also experienced firsthand that someone taking on more work at 2/3 of the price is also overpromising and underdelivering. What’s missing is the creation of value for their services. As they say, even a monkey with a typewriter will eventually write something good.

My challenge to you today is this: What can you do to improve communication and create value for your clients?

To get you started, here are three phrases to never say to your clients ever again:

I was working on another project.
You’ve instantly made your client feel like they aren’t the most important person. Clients know that you have other work, but subconsciously they want to think that their account is the most important to you. You can subtly reinforce that thinking by striking this phrase from your repertoire.

I don’t use email/text/IM/Twitter.
In a client/vendor relationship, it’s not about you and your likes/dislikes. It’s about communicating with the client using their preferred medium. Ask the client how they like to communicate and get comfortable using that technology.

Please don’t contact me after hours. I have a life outside of work.
Don’t we all have a life outside of work? I hope so. And clients are no different. Like everyone else, they want to know (1) they’ve been heard and (2) you’re working on the solution. Your solution may not come until Monday morning, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fire back a quick response to the email that came in on Saturday. A simple “I got your email and am looking into it” will go a long way.