Whatever field you’re working in, having a stable of good, reliable regular clients who send you work, are good communicators and pay decent rates in good time is a good place to be. The kind of client you want as a regular is the kind of client who follows all of these rules. You may have chosen to work with them based on these criteria. And, in fact, if you follow these rules for freelancers yourself, you should have no trouble in attracting regulars.
I’ve written about how to decide which companies to work with. Here are some ways to help you turn a good first-time client into a trusted regular. If you have other suggestions, do add a comment to this post!
Do a good job the first time
This one’s a bit obvious, but it’s worth saying. Do a good job the first time, and you’re likely to create a regular client just like that!
Be memorable for your good customer service
Leave the client with a good final impression. I’m always sure to say thank you for their payment and to wish them well with the publication / website / new service / novel / whatever it is that you’ve done for them this time.
Make sure that your client knows you’d like to work with them again
When I send my thank you for their payment, I make sure that I make it clear that I’d like to work with them again. Something along the lines of “I’m looking forward to working with you on future projects” will set a good note.
Remind the client that you’re available
When you’re establishing a relationship with a client, the odd little email reminder of your availability is fine (obviously don’t hassle them). If you have a newsletter, asking them if they’d like to be added to your mailing list and sending them a monthly newsletter can keep you in their mind.
Make sure that clients know about all of your services
If, like me, you offer more than one service, make sure that your clients know this, too. I’ve got several long-term customers who use me for more than one service – one has moved from using my transcription services to using me as an editor (I also still transcribe for them) and a few use me for editing and localisation. Even if they only do one thing themselves, it’s useful for people to know your range, in case they recommend you to their colleagues.
Offer an incentive
Once I have completed a job for a new customer and they’ve paid me successfully, I offer then an incentive. No, not money off! But I will usually offer to invoice them for all of the jobs I do for them in a month, at the end of the month. Win for them: they are given longer to pay and will receive one invoice for several jobs. Win for me: I only have to produce one invoice and record one payment, and I can add them to my monthly invoice run.
Note: make sure you are clear that this is an offer and they don’t have to take it up. If they don’t want to do this, make a note and invoice them how they like it to be done, for example.
Thank them for their repeated custom and treat regulars well
I regularly tell my regulars how much I appreciate their regular custom and I treat them well in as many other ways as I can, too:
- I make it clear that at busy times, I will prioritise their work over new work (and I tell new prospects this, too – I think it gives a good impression to let everyone know that I treat my regulars well).
- I will also go above and beyond, doing a super-fast turnaround or working late to fit a job in – not to the detriment of other clients or my own health and sanity, but I treat them as well as I can.
- If I’m booking holiday or other time off, I will email my regulars in advance to warn them, so they don’t just find out when they get my out of office reply.
- I will offer regulars a named holiday cover contact who they can work with when I’m not available, and introduce them to a trusted colleague if they wish me to.
This is how I have converted one-off customers into regulars, and have built a group of regulars who bring me regular work and income and peace of mind in knowing I’ve got a stable business. And how I keep them!
If you have any more tips and tricks do share them in the comments. And do please click on the buttons below to share this post!
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