Client retention is one of the most hassling matters which freelancers have to consider. Do you spend more of your time chasing down new clients rather than working repeatedly with your existing clients? Then this post is just for you.
Let’s face it: we all want to make cool cash. No one wants to keep working for free, or for stipends and the best way to earn good money is to have faithful clients, right? Good. I’m glad you know that.
Now, onto the next step. To make money, people have to be interested in your services- in what you can do for them that would add value to them and for which you would have earned your pay. How do we get those clients knocking at our proverbial doors all the time? When we get them, how do we make them faithful clients?
These are some of the important questions which are bound to plague the minds of freelancers all of the time and to address these questions, I would be sharing a few tips:
1. Have a versatile portfolio
Your aim should be for your portfolio to speak for itself.
For newbie freelancers, it might seem quite difficult to get a portfolio containing work which you’ve done, but there’s still a way out.
Instead of bidding your time until a new client comes along, how about you do something for fun? If you’re a web designer, you could design some sample websites and add that to your portfolio.
If you’re a freelance writer, of course, you should have writing samples, from either paid or unpaid jobs. Just don’t let anything stop you from having an excellent portfolio.
This is because your portfolio is one of the most important things that helps to build your clients’ trust in you and if it’s a pretty great one to look at, you are likely to get more and more new clients. When you do a job, add it to your portfolio, never forget that.
2. Do your homework
Every client is different. Therefore, as much as possible, treat every client as an individual- not just as the next person from whom you’d earn an income. In other words, do some background research about your clients.
If they have an online presence, go through it to note the kind of person whom he or she is, their interests and generally, to have a feel of their person. This can help you tailor the project to suit them, and trust me, it’ll be highly appreciated.
3. Look out for the clients who bring the most jobs- and invest heavily in them
While some clients contract jobs to you once in a while, there would be a few who are heavy clients- go through your mails and see which clients are most consistent with giving you jobs, and invest heavily in them.
In fact, it might be just one client who brings in over 50% of your income. When you invest heavily into such a client, you are bound to get more jobs from them, or better still, referrals to other clients. Treat these clients like gold!
4. Feedback time!
It is a very good practice to learn to ask for feedback from your clients in a non-threatening way. Ask questions such as if your project fulfilled their needs, if they were satisfied with it, and how they would rate it on a scale of 1-10. What would they have loved for you to do better? Feedback goes a long way to improve your performance, as well as to show how committed you are to your clients.
5. Keep your clients at ease
Relax. The key is to get your clients to relax, to be at complete ease with you. Try as much as possible to communicate in clear terms, avoiding unnecessary jargon which can alienate the client, and speaking to them in warm terms.
A client who is at ease with you is likely to become a consistent client or customer.
6. Promise little, churn out much
When you deliver a better result than what was promised, it creates a giddy feeling of excitement in your client. After all, who doesn’t like to be treated specially?
The principle is to always deliver more value for the work requested, at a reasonable fee. When this is done consistently, your client will definitely trust you more, and would stay with you!
7. Stay within your niche
Yes, the subject of the niche again. When you stay within your own niche, there is a great tendency for you to perform excellently, because the work is done with ease and there is a great flow. When your clients also know that you are an expert in the filed for which they have come to you, you are likely to retain them
Now, let’s go get our clients retained, shall we?