So you’ve been going at this freelance thing for a while now. And you are left wondering, “How do I keep my clients coming back for more?”
It’s no secret that it is far easier to obtain additional business from current clients than to acquire new clients. To increase revenue, business strategists encourage the practice of up-selling or cross-selling. I hate those terms because they allude to selling your client something they don’t need. For example, I never want to “sell” my client on a fancy, cost-prohibitive, printed brochure when their business may reap more rewards from investing in a website redesign. Instead of “selling” your client additional products or projects, how about focusing on selling yourself as an asset to their team?
Here are 5 practical ways you can keep your clients coming back for more:
1. Listen more than you speak
Take the time to truly listen to your clients. Ask the right questions. You may find that what they think they need is very different from what they actually need. Show them that you are looking out for their dollar, and they will value you and your work for years to come.
2. Under-promise & Overdeliver
This is key. Allow me to give you an example. After receiving a signed quote for a logo design, I sent my client a specific production schedule outlining when to expect the first draft, revisions, etc. I allowed 14 days to develop my first round of concepts. It may take me far less than 14 days to design the logo, but this way I build in some cushion for the what-ifs (my child gets sick, a family emergency comes up, etc.). Luckily for me, no “what-ifs” erupted so I was able to deliver the logo concepts 2 days earlier than promised. Result: A pleasantly surprised client. Don’t put yourself in a position where you can’t reach deadlines or are delivering sub-par work. If you set realistic expectations and communicate clear deadlines, your clients will be willing to wait for quality work.
And no, I’m not talking about the app. You can accomplish a lot over phone and email these days, but nothing develops a business relationship as effectively as in-person communication. Schedule a coffee date to introduce yourself and brainstorm. Your client will not only be invested in the project. He/she will be invested in you.
4. Check in
Don’t be a fair weather friend. Check in with your client a few weeks/months after project completion and ask how things are going. Ask if there is anything you could have done to make the project more successful. Show you care about more than a paid invoice.
5. Blog Regularly
You knew this one was coming. Regular blogging will not only do wonders for your website’s SEO, it will enhance your client relationships. Your clients want to know you as a person, not just a designer.
About the author: Lauren Kaczmarski is a designer & blogger based in Charlotte who loves photography, typography and eating Nutella straight out of the jar.