Scheduling meetings with potential clients is the first step in booking more clients and significantly increasing your income. Yet, it might seem like you schedule way more meetings than the number of clients that you currently have.
It’s pretty common, actually!
It’s great that you’re generating interest in your small business or services, but you need to be taking additional steps to keep your current clients coming back for more.
How do you do that?
In this article, we’re going to review some of the best ways to encourage your current clients to book more work with you in the future!
1. Remain active on social media
So, you booked a new client, did the job, got paid, and went home. And then, you never heard from the client again. Every time you try to follow up, they’re not looking for your type of work at the moment.
This is where having active social media accounts would’ve been very useful.
As a self-employed professional, your social media marketing strategy shouldn’t only be about building a following of potential customers. In fact, it should be more about keeping a following of ideal clients.
Social media is a great way to remain in constant indirect contact with your previous clients without having to reach out to them individually: no phone calls, no emails, no texts – nothing.
That means they’ll be reminded of your work and your business each time they see your posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Yet, you need to make sure that you’re posting engaging, high-quality content.
What to Post on Social Media
If every post and image you share on Facebook is an advertisement, you’re going to lose your target audience – and quick!
That’s why you should switch up your style of posts here and there to keep the interest of your current clients (and prospective clients).
Yet, you shouldn’t just be making posts and signing off. You should be actively looking to engage with clients and answer questions each time they comment, share, and even like your posts. Continue to build a relationship with them – even from a distance!
2. Build relationships with your clients
The moment you stop viewing your clients as a source of income and start viewing them as people is the moment your career will take a dramatic turn toward the better.
How to Build a Strong Relationship With Clients
Maintaining a consistent contact schedule is a great first step. But, if your clients begin to catch on that you give them a call on the first Friday of every month, they’ll start to think that you’re desperate for new business.
That’s why it’s important that you take the time to get to know your clients as people. Learn about their hobbies, families, their favorite places to go, and events that are coming up.
Try to stay within these guidelines, if possible:
- Don’t offer your opinions on any political, religious, or controversial topics.
- If you’re going to talk about yourself, don’t share anything that can be used against you or make you appear less professional.
- Ask them questions about their lives.
- When you give them a call, ask about events they’ve previously spoken about or how their children/pets are doing.
3. Do more than the average professional in your field
Let’s be honest – Nearly anybody can pass themselves off as a photographer, freelance writer, or graphic design expert and get the job done, though maybe not well.
Right now, your previous and target clients can do a quick Google search and find 20 other professionals in your field that they can hire at a much lower rate than yours.
Think to yourself: Why should my clients hire me again?
If you can’t answer this question just yet, you have a little work to do.
Setting Yourself Apart
The most effective way to guarantee that clients come back for years to come is by providing them with an unmatchable experience. No other freelancer in your field should be able to do exactly what you do.
How do you do that?
Make it memorable!
It’s extremely common to hire a professional for a job and never hear from them again until the job’s over. As much as clients might not know exactly how your field functions, they want to be kept in the loop.
When you work with a client, make it a point to provide them with weekly (or more frequent) updates. Tell them where you currently are with the project and any changes in plans that you might be approaching.
Knowing & Building Your Worth
You might not have made your clients’ experiences memorable in the past, but it’s never too late to start.
Now, back to our question.
Figure out what you’re going to do to set yourself apart. And to take it a step further, make sure your clients can also identify what sets you apart from the rest!
Build better client relationships. Read: Client Interfacing — 10 Keys to Effective Communication with Freelance Clients
4. Do what you say you’re going to do
At the beginning of your career, you might have been told by your colleagues that you should just say “yes” to everything that a client wants.
While this is a decent way to build a client base, it’s not all that effective if you can’t live up to the expectations that you’re setting for your new customers.
Being unreliable is the quickest way for business owners to lose repeat clients. Plus, showing that you’re reliable and honest the first time is the best way to guarantee clients stick with you.
Building a Good Reputation
We know you’ve heard the horror stories.
Contractors that never showed up. Photographers that overcharged. Videographers that seemed to have just learned to use a camera yesterday.
You do not want to be another horror story for your clients.
Here’s what you can do to help you to build a positive reputation:
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep!
- If you make promises, do everything you can to keep them (and, if you can’t keep the promise, let your client know beforehand).
- Set realistic deadlines that you know you can hit.
- Contact your client about any bumps in the road or changes that have to be made.
As much as you should be putting your clients’ needs first, your reputation is always on the line.
Get organized and streamline your processes: Your Complete Guide to Freelance Project Management
So, you’ve been in your field for years. There’s absolutely no doubt that you’re a master at your craft.
That also means that you know an unrealistic idea when you see one.
If your client comes to you with an idea that can’t or shouldn’t be done, don’t feel obligated to tell them you’ll get started tonight! You’ll only be setting yourself and your client up for disappointment when you can’t follow through with your promise.
Tell your client if you can’t do a job exactly as they wish.
5. Be a solid source of information
Your clients know your rates. They know what type of work you do. They know how quickly you can get the average job done.
But, do they know what you know, or do they just see you as someone looking to make money?
We’re talking about demonstrating your knowledge and proving your worth as an expert in your field.
It’s Not All About Sales
You’ve been a photographer for the last five years. A potential client reaches out and asks you about what style of photograph you would recommend for their wedding photos.
They’re not ready to book right now, but they’re considering their options.
- Give a quick answer to end the call? I mean, they don’t seem that interested in booking your services anyway.
- Walk them through the different types of photography and what would look best given their theme? You really care about how their photos turn out.
If you chose the second, you’re much more likely to be respected as a professional in your field. That’s because you’re providing thoughtful feedback and not doing everything possible to make a sale.
You can even show off your expertise preemptively.
Blogging, posting a tweet, sending out a newsletter to your email list, or even sharing a guest post about industry trends or your creative decisions can inspire and inform your ideal customer and is great for lead generation!
So, what are we saying here?
Be the person your clients can turn to if they have a question about your field of work or an idea that they’re considering.
Let them bounce their ideas off of you.
Give them thoughtful feedback.
When you show that you genuinely care about their needs and want them to truly understand your line of work, you’re much more likely to secure repeat clients in the long run.
Want to up your freelance game? Read: 10 Essential Skills that All Freelancers Need to Master
6. Use a CRM
When your funnel is nearly overflowing, it can be hard to keep track of how well you’re nurturing your leads and past clients.
When you drop the ball on communication, you’re risking the loss of business.
But, how can you honestly keep track when there are so many clients?
If you think that other professionals in your field are keeping mental notes of which customers they’ve called this month and sending out personal emails to hundreds of them on a weekly basis, then you’re sadly mistaken.
The best in the field use CRMs, also called customer relationship management tools.
What a CRM Does
A CRM takes a lot of the manual work out of nurturing your client relationships and automates it.
So that means, you can:
- Schedule email drip campaigns that send information about your services or business every week, month, or on special dates and occasions
- Keep track of when you last spoke to clients and how the interaction went
- Organize client contact information (phone numbers, names, addresses, email addresses, and notes)
These programs take a lot of the guesswork out of client communication and help to keep clients in the long-term.
Why CRMs Help to Keep Clients
Maybe you had time to call up all of your clients during your first few months in business, but that’s just not realistic anymore.
With a CRM, you can send your client’s a personalized email on their birthday, anniversary, or any major holiday. You can send them promotional emails that are exactly the type of work that they appreciate. You could send them a weekly newsletter about the latest news in your field or industry.
CRMs keep your name in the minds (or inboxes) of your clients.
The more your clients see your name and remember the positive experience they had with you, the more likely they are to return for future jobs.
Take advantage of a free trial of the Bloom CRM now!
A large client base is good. A consistent client base is even better.
When it comes to guaranteeing future sessions with the same clients, you need to make an effort to build a positive experience with each client and remind them of your services on a rather consistent basis.