In freelance writing, your clients are your bread and butter, as the saying goes. Building strong, healthy client relationships is essential to making a business with freelance writing. But getting clients is only the first piece of the puzzle. It will be essential to keep clients after a project is complete and this is something you will need to practice with each and every new client that you take on.
How to keep a client after a project is complete:
Know your stuff: It’s important to know your stuff and to be able to show this to your client. While he may have been sold enough to hire you, it’s important to keep that confidence alive by showing throughout the process that you know what you are doing.
Know your client: it’s going to be difficult to know what your client wants when you don’t know the client. Ask questions if you need to, spend time talking and be sure to listen to what your client says. If he has a website or blog, take a little time to read over it and learn more about this client and their likes, dislikes and more. It will pay off big when you show your client you really know him.
Seek feedback: Seek feedback throughout the project terms and also at the end of a project. You can use a questionnaire at the end of a project to gain feedback and also to promote future services with this client.
Keep documentation: Always document everything that you can throughout the project, especially for larger ones. Keep a log of what you did so you can give status reports or turn it in with the final project. This shows the client that you are professional, value your time and his, and that you keep track of what you do.
Underpromise and overdeliver: Don’t make big promises that you cannot keep. Instead, make realistic goals for your client and then work hard to give them just a little more each time. When you try so hard to win a project that you reveal everything you’ve got to give, there’s nothing left to impress the client with. One way you can do this is with deadlines. If you think it will take 5 business days, say 7 instead. Then work hard and try to finish in 4. Even if you complete it in the projected 5 days, it will look like it’s 2 days early to your client.
Keep communication open: You should not be required to be at your client’s beck and call all hours of the day and night but you do need to be sure to keep communication open. Check in daily even if it is just to send a quick status report.
Suggest additional projects: Sometimes your client needs to know what else you can do for him. He might be looking for additional services but doesn’t know you provide them. Or maybe you will put the idea in his head for something he needs but didn’t realize he needs. It’s that easy and you could be signing the contract on a second project in no time at all!
Offer a repeat client or referral discount: After a project is complete, let your client know that you will give him a discount on his next project with you. Alternatively, tell him that if he refers your services to a friend or colleague, you will offer a discount on his next project with you. This sets the stage for future work and you can afford the discount when you don’t lose that time to seeking a new client or risking a new client who may not be as easy to work with. When you get a good one, take steps to hold onto them.