Tips for Getting and Keeping Clients
You’re a freelancer and you live and breathe by your clients, right? That makes getting and keeping clients fundamental to the success of your business. Many of my clients’ have been with me since the early days of Virtuoso-PA, steadfastly every month I receive a regular stream of work from them. I’ve become an integral part of their team and I obviously want to keep it that way. How have I managed to do it? Here are my five quick tips for getting and keeping clients.
1 Ask your clients for referrals. There’s nothing wrong with doing this. In fact, customers are often happy to refer you to others. I have a few very well networked clients’ and they have passed many other clients my way. They are the reason why I started my client referral program; I wanted to thank them officially for their referrals. You may have seen my client referral program, if not it’s here. Don’t forget It’s also a two way street, so pass their information over if you hear of anyone looking for their services.
2 Be a consummate professional. If you’re an excellent person to work with, you’ll keep your clients – even if your rates are a bit higher or your timeline a little bit longer than other freelancers. The truth is, we place a high value on our business relationships, at least the clients you want to work with do. And, if you can build a strong relationship with your clients, you’ll keep them for the long haul. They’ll also talk about you, and word of mouth is a great, and free, marketing tool. Also don’t forget the ‘little’ things; a birthday card, small Christmas present an email to find out if they had a good holiday. The little things count.
3 Communicate with your clients on a regular basis. You don’t have to have an opt-in list and an email marketing campaign, but if you regularly connect with your clients, you stay in the front of their mind when they have a need or when someone asks them if they know of a good freelancer. There are two approaches to regular client communication and you can combine the two approaches as you see fit. They are:
· Send your client list an email once a month, or more often if you like, highlighting a promotion. For example, “10% off for the month of January.”
· Send your client a note when you’re thinking of them. i.e. “I saw this article in the Guardian and thought of you.” This helps build a relationship with them and it’s a great way to stay connected.
4 Get out there and get noticed! Participate in social networking, blog and be a guest blogger. Generate awareness about you and your services. One new client can turn into thousands of pounds over the course of a year and they can refer other clients.
5 Be helpful. Be willing to help and inform others in your community even when there isn’t any apparent reward. Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, when you give to others, they give back. This doesn’t mean you give away your services; what it means is that you’re willing to help others by providing insight, information and a listening ear when they need it without expecting anything in return.
If your client is trying to resolve an issue and you can help them with your experience, help them. They’ll appreciate it and you never know when they’ll be able to return the favour.
Much of the art of keeping clients has to do with building relationships, and it’s also intricately linked with getting new clients. Word of mouth from satisfied clients is a wonderful way to fill your schedule with your ideal clients and projects.