Many make the mistake of thinking that their relationship with their clients is over when they receive the final payment or the warranty period finally ends. But this is not so. If you think you are one of these please think again. Unless you parted ways in less amicable circumstances your relationship is never over. What may change is how often you communicate with them and vice-versa. Should you still let this relationship continue or let it die a natural death?
Why should this relationship be kept alive? The major reason is FUTURE WORK. It is easier to get additional work from your previous customers or clients than from new ones. Trying to get work from new clients require more effort because of the following:
- Getting to know them. Will your personalities clash? Are they difficult to deal with? Do they have biases? These need answering before you even get the job.
- Establishing lines of communication. Are they sincere? Are they clear and concise in describing their pain that you need to solve?
- Winning their trust and confidence. Do you come across as an expert in your field? Do they feel that you can solve their pain?
With your existing clients the above mentioned barriers do not exist anymore.
What are some things that you can do so that your relationship with your previous clients do not go stale? As in any relationship that needs maintaining COMMUNICATION is the key. You have to make sure that you are always in their mind so much so that you become the go to person on anything IT related. This does not mean that you have to be the one to solve the problem rather in their eyes you can probably solve the problem (big difference there). Here are some things you can do:
Ask Them How Their Business Is Going
Get in touch with them once in a while and ask how their business is going. You can also ask about how the website / software you made is impacting their business. You can also extend an offer to help them.
Send Them Tips
Occasionally send them tips or tricks on how to do a certain action more efficiently. You can send them links to articles that you think will be useful.
Provide A Possible Solution (Gratis)
Sometimes in your conversation with them they may ask you if you know a solution to a certain problem. The question may just even be asked in passing. Make a mental note about finding a possible solution to it.
One day when you are ready send the solution or suggestions for resolution to your client briefly mentioning the problem.
Take Them Out To Lunch
The reason? Nothing. Everyone loves a free lunch. Why not make use of it to get to know them better. If this is your first time do not ask them for anything especially for a referral. You do not want to come across as using this opportunity for your own gain. Maybe in the future you can.
Do Not Forget Important Dates
If you have been dealing with a customer for sometime you will by now know some personal things about them. Greet them on their birthday or wedding anniversary or on any other date that means a lot to them.
Keeping in contact with your previous customer will eventually deliver results in terms of more work either coming from them or through their referrals. After maintaining the relationship for sometime you can start asking them for more work or referrals especially if you know that you have done a great job and they are really pleased with your work.