Guest post by Laura Pennington from www.sixfigurewritingsecrets.com
There are a few mantras I repeat over and over again to my students and blog readers, but one of them is about the value of recurring work. Recurring work is the number one reason I’ve been able to build a six-figure freelance writing business.
I see a lot of people stuck on how to maintain positive client relationships. They’re able to land a client, but once that project is over, you never hear from that person again.
This leads you to a hamster wheel style business. Every month you’re left scrambling in order to land clients who like working with you and even when your clients have a good experience, you’re not sure how to convert them into longtime customers.
When I shifted my business in 2014, I made the commitment to set a monthly goal not just for revenue, but for recurring revenue. Knowing that a certain amount of business would always come rolling in (with some exceptions, of course, as people may drop out of your business or just not have a need for you at the present moment) gives me a lot of peace of mind. I can plan for expenses. I know how busy I’ll be and what other opportunities I’ll need to turn down. I set that number first at $3k. Then $5k. Right now, it’s at $10k.
Since I’ve been working on this premise for years, and since most of my clients have been with me for two years or more, I’m happy to share with you my favorite tips for getting clients and keeping them.
Deliver an Amazing Experience- Every Single Time
Some of your clients have probably been burned in the past. Bad communication or poor work quality can leave them reeling for months or even years. You need to be aware of this and blow them away with your professionalism especially on a first project.
Trust me when I say that once a client finds someone they can trust, they have no reason to go elsewhere (unless, of course, they can’t afford you!)
Clients want to work with only one person- they don’t want to go back to the drawing board and hire someone else. So give them all the reasons in the world to just stick with you. You can do this by:
○ Getting instructions upfront
○ Scheduling a kickoff call to have all your questions answered at once
○ Delivering early or on deadline
○ Suggesting future opportunities for how you can help them
Clients love seamless and simple transactions. The first time you work with them is your opportunity to impress them, so knock it out of the park. This is a great opportunity to go above and beyond!
Let Them Know You Offer Ongoing Benefits
If your clients are ordering content from you, using a service like social media scheduling, or want to find a reliable long-term provider, they have to know you offer this service. You might think it’s obvious, but don’t count on your clients to realize it.
As you wrap up a project with a new client, let them know that you offer ongoing work AND give them a reason to jump on it now. Here’s an example:
“I’m glad you were happy with the blogs. By the way,I offer monthly blogging packages for sets of 20 and apply an automatic 15% discount. Is this something you’d be interested in?”
People love a discount, especially if you’re also clueing them in working with you over the long run. This might be just enough to push them over the edge. Most people might simply think that you prefer one-off projects. You have to let them know what you’re willing to do to make working together an option.
Recognize that not every partnership is perfect for ongoing work. However, you still want to deliver an amazing experience because even your great one-off clients can pay off in spades in the form of referrals. Keep in touch with them so you have somewhere to turn to get recommendations of other great clients. Often, happy clients will pass you on, but if you land a great one from your old client, then reward them with a thoughtful thank you or a discount off a future partnership with you.
Some clients just won’t be a fit for you, and that’s okay, too. But when you spot an ideal client- do what you can to keep them. Even if they can’t offer you ongoing work at the moment, there’s a good chance they’ll refer you to someone else or reach out to you again down the road.