Anyone can get writing clients for an initial project… well, with a bit of work.
Getting them to keep coming back for more is an entirely different matter.
It takes some effort to get a new client – you’ve got to find each other somehow (job board, Craigslist, in-person networking, through a referral), you’ve got to find out what they need written, you’ve got to come up with pricing, you’ve got to agree on the deliverables’ details, and you’ve got to get paid. It’s time-consuming. It’s full of uncertainty. On the first go-round, you’re never 100% sure you’re headed in the right direction, creating what the new client had in mind. Unless you get paid up-front (highly recommended), you can’t be completely positive that you’ll get paid. Until you’ve worked together for several projects, you just don’t know who you’re dealing with, and how they’ll be as a client long-term.
After being in this business now more than six years, I can tell you, I’ve had some wonderful clients as well as some I’ve been relieved to say goodbye to.
The first kind are better.
Of course, you can’t tell they’ll be so wonderful right off the bat. So here’s a best practice for you: Treat all your clients like they’ll be keepers.
What’s that mean? How do you get those delightful clients coming back for more?
- Get a thorough understanding of what they want. But don’t be a pain.
There is such a thing as a stupid question sometimes – and it’s usually brought on by a complete lack of confidence. If your client has to explain in excruciating detail exactly what’s needed, you’ll start to look like a time-suck.
- Do it.
Deliver on time, according to specs. No hassle, no excuses, no sloppiness. Just THAT will set you apart.
- Be accommodating – as much as possible.
For example, when I deliver work to a new client, I usually refer to it as a draft. I always say something like: “Please let me know if you need any changes or anything else.” Granted, this one step begins the differentiation process between clients I’m eager to write for and those I’d rather replace soon… if they come back a bunch of times even after I did #1 and #2 above, something obviously is haywire in our communication together.
Does all this work? Absolutely! I have several clients who’ve been with me for years. They know I’ll take good care of them, and I know they’re cool to work with, so I look forward to their projects.
What are your tips for client retention? Leave a comment and share whatcha got