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Three Easy Ways To Keep Your Clients For A Lifetime

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by mrleesimpson, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. mrleesimpson

    mrleesimpson Guest

    Given the results from Greg’s post about how clients find you I thought this article by Dave Navarro from Freelance Switch on "Three Easy Ways To Keep Your Clients For A Lifetime" was very fitting.

    As freelancers and design companies retaining clients in an otherwise very very competitive market should be the number one priority to guarantee the longevity of your business, and more often that not this includes more than just producing good results.

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    You’ve worked hard to get the clients you have, and the last thing you want to do is risk any of them having second thoughts about looking for another freelancer down the road. But in the real world, competition is fierce and you can’t guarantee your clients won’t develop a wandering eye. Or can you? Check out these slick moves that can transform a lukewarm client into a “raving fan” customer – for life.

    Before We Begin: Why The Little Things Matter So Much

    Your clients are busy people (just like you are) and anything that makes their lives more difficult or slows down their projects leaves a bad taste in their mouths that just doesn’t go away. Missed deadlines, sloppy work, or even “innocent” rework based on incomplete planning can reflect poorly on you and jeopardize your chance of drawing ongoing business from them.

    But the coin has two sides – exceptional service, attention to detail and those little touches that show just how professional you really are – they have the exact opposite effect, coloring your clients’ perception in a positive way and making them fans for life. And once you’ve captured their hearts, you’ve got them forever. Here are three “little things” that can make all the difference for your freelancing success.

    Slick Move #1: Cover All The Bases (Even The Ones They Never Thought Of)

    How many times have you started on a project thinking you had all the information needed – and then discovered that you had to touch base with the client again and again to get “just one more thing?” All those little check-ins are an interruption for your clients, pulling their time and attention away from what matters most. While they may write it off to “Yeah, I never thought to ask that either” and sympathize, it still slows the process down. And that doesn’t help you at all.
    The Move

    Every time you have to touch base with a client to get information or decisions that you missed addressing in your earlier planning sessions, make note of it. Take those notes and build a template of questions to ask for the next similar project with them. Within a short time you’ll have a detailed checklist that will help you get all the information you need – and all the necessary decisions made up front – and your client will be impressed by how thoroughly you understand the needs of their projects.

    Slick Move #2: Respond Quickly And Anticipate The Next Conversation

    Your clients’ positive perception of you can live or die based on the speed at which you respond to their emails and phone calls. And while you shouldn’t be a slave to your clients, you know firsthand how much a quick response makes you feel better about a business. When your clients know that you’re on top of it all, and you aren’t going to leave them hanging, they’ll feel safe keeping their business with you.
    The Move

    Set a strict response time that you’ll hold yourself to when a customer contacts you and make sure you stick to it. But do more than just answer their initial concern – look ahead to see if additional issues might be just over the horizon. Think of what questions they might ask you next, and pre-emptively check in to see if they need more information on other things. The way to develop this “sixth sense” is to keep track of all your client communications and recognize the patterns within. Often one question will lead to another – and if you can do the leading, you not only save them time but also wow them with how on top of things you are.

    Slick Move #3: Say What You Mean, And Mean What You Say

    When clients ask you “How long will this take?” it’s tempting to give an answer that will make you look like a high-achieving powerhouse. But that’s a gamble that doesn’t pay off if you can’t deliver. Your clients will be arranging schedules around your deliverables – and if you’re late, that not just bad news for you. Your client may have to pay the price as well … and that doesn’t bode well for future work.
    The Move

    Become a better estimator by tracking how long your projects really take – not just the work itself, but the interruptions, setbacks and obstacles that happen as well. Over time you’ll develop a powerfully accurate ability to estimate the true timeline of a project, and you’ll be able to confidently give estimates that reflect real-world conditions. And that leaves you with two ways to win – you either make the client happy by delivering on time, or you have fewer setbacks than expected and deliver early. Do this consistently, and your reputation becomes golden.

    Slick Move #4: Only You Have The Answer To This One …

    When it comes to wowing your clients and giving them great reasons to stick with you forever, what slick moves do you have up your sleeve? Take a minute right now and share your best tips for impressing your clients and check out the tips others leave as well.

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    View the full article here.
     

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