The last decade has been game changing for freelance professionals. We’ve witnessed unprecedented growth in the numbers of self-employed individuals. This has also translated into fierce competition in a line of work which was until recently not as popular amongst the workforce.
All freelancers have to go through the painful process of finding work, looking for prospective clients and worthwhile projects. Andreas is a Business coaching expert, he says, “A substantial amount of time, money and effort is invested into hunting for new clients. It is only logical that we avail the greatest possible returns out of what we already have in our hands.”
This article aims to discuss the prospect of:
- Business Retention
- Steps to ensure repeat business.
- What do you stand to gain from it?
What is repeat business?
- Repeat business is the strategy that you implement, to convert a one-time prospect customer into a long term relationship.
- It is a strategy because it involves having a multi-faceted approach towards your customer.
How to keep them coming for more?
- Provide Value
When you undertake a project for any client, always make it a point to do some due diligence and background study. Spend some time understanding their business, ask them questions and try to see their point of view.
Use this information to craft a personalized solution for them. They will appreciate this value added service, the fact that you went the extra mile for them and did not half ass your way through work just because you are getting paid for it.
- Deliver more than what you promised.
Throw in some extra goodies to make the client feel valued. Something more than what you had committed to while discussing the scope of the project.
I was supposed to write content for a client.
Although I had committed to providing only an article for their website, I added some pictures, infographics, diagrams and a bit of editing in the mix.
The end result was a well-rounded post that really made the client happy.Not only did I get more business from the client, I also got a heart-warming testimonial.
- Prompt Delivery
This one seems so obvious, no? Yet we manage to botch up deadlines so often.
Always ask yourself one question before you commit to any project:
Can I deliver on time? If yes, take it up. If unsure, DON’T say yes to the client.
One should always aim for prompt delivery, a day before the deadline if possible. It shows that you are sincere and did not rush your way through work at the last moment.Remember, the idea is to make the clients come back rather than you having to go searching for new freelance jobs.
- Maintain Rapport
Always make it a point to get in touch with a client after your engagement or project is concluded. Catch up with them on social media, through mails, newsletters or even something as simple as a text.
It shows them that you value the working relationship and are open to working with them in the future. Also, it shows that your post sales service is strong.
Always ask for feedbacks or reviews after you have submitted your work. It is a sign of professionalism and indicates that you are open to suggestions or reworking certain things that aren’t to the clients’ satisfaction.
You could ask them for testimonials, if they were happy with your work. You could use these as references on your website.
Always ask clients who are content with your work for referrals. Maybe they might not need your services again but there is a good chance that they know people in their network who might.
It is a great marketing tactic AND doesn’t require a single penny from your pockets.
Drop some business cards or a mail or your website link with them for future reference.
- Provide Discounts
In some cases the client might have taken a liking to your work but does not have the required budget to avail of your services. In such situations, provide a small discount or revise your rates to accommodate the client.
It need not be pro bono work, just a little bit of concession to incentivize the client. This will not only get you his business but make a long lasting impression. It will ensure repeat business and referrals as well.
- Collaborate/ Partner with them
This requires certain perceptiveness and presence of mind on your part.
– Being receptive to the needs of that client.
– Listening to what ideas they have regarding their business.
– Spot any opening where you can be of service to them or add value to their business.
Once you are sure that you can be of assistance to them, use your intuition and judgement to craft a proposal that might interest them. This gesture will be appreciated and will display your presence of mind.
It will also convey to the client that you are a person who takes initiative. This will pave the way for collaboration or partnering with them on a long term basis.
How does one profit from long term or repeat clients?
- Repeat Business means lesser time and effort spent generating leads for further business.
- It reduces the overheads on marketing efforts.
- Higher returns on the investment made in acquiring that particular client.
- It practically means free word of mouth marketing for your services.
- It acts as a Networking activity.
- Reduces stress levels by filling up your projects pipeline.
- More money
Repeat Business is a strategy that most successful businesses have adopted at one point to grow and outperform competition.
It is called a strategy because it isn’t enough to have a good product/ service to succeed anymore. One needs to put in those extra efforts.
Let me know what you think about this article and your personal experiences. Feel free to contribute any tips or tricks that have worked for you or you can share your experiences as well.