One of the most prevalent difficulties of being an entrepreneur is being self-employed and therefore solely responsible for your income. You’re likely offering a service that is in demand enough that you’re able to make a full-time income on your own, but it’s still solely up to you to land clients. More importantly, it’s up to you to land those coveted repeat clients.
Every successful entrepreneur needs repeat clients to grow and advance within their industry. These regular clients are crucial to your prosperity. For one thing, repeat clients require less of your precious time. They already know the drill, so there’s less back-and-forth and a more seamless transaction when you work with them.
Repeat clients also tend to provide testimonials. They’ll often promote your services to their friends and family – especially if you’ve developed a personal relationship with them.
Most importantly, repeat clients provide you the peace of mind in the form of stability. The more repeat clients you have, the more predictable your income becomes, which is always nice.
#1. Pleasantly surprise your client by over-performing
It’s extremely common for a client to be disappointed that their freelancer under-performed or under-delivered. If you meet their expectations, they might not hire you again. If you exceed their expectations, however, they probably will hire you again.
You should always pleasantly surprise a client by not only producing everything that you promised, but by also giving them a little something extra. This is an excellent way to retain customers and keep them coming back to you, and an awesome way to create a great reputation for yourself.
#2. Implement an enticing loyalty program
It never hurts to give your clients an incentive to be loyal to you – especially if you have a lot of competition. You can get creative and develop a loyalty program that works for you.
You can implement a points system where your clients receive a certain number of points for every dollar spent with you. Of course, the number of points they earn will reward them with a gift of some sort. Another option is for you to feature your regular clients on your social media profiles from time-to-time, giving their business a shout-out through Instagram or Facebook.
Whatever your loyalty program is, it’s a great way to encourage people to continue to work with you instead of seeking out someone new.
#3. Offer to customize your service to suit their needs
There’s nothing clients love more than someone willing to customize or tailor a service to better suit their specific needs. Sometimes, this will involve you doing something you’re not used to doing. You may have to step outside of your comfort zone. It will be worth it, though, because your customer will remember that you went above and beyond for them.
For example, if you get nervous speaking in public and your client needs you to speak at a live event, this might fall outside of your normal services – but you’d do it because it’s a customization they’ve requested.
#4. Get into the habit of responding to client emails immediately
We’ve all done it: We read an email from an important client and tell ourselves we’ll reply later. Sadly, ‘Later’ often leads to us forgetting to reply to our clients altogether. Consumers only want to work with those they find to be reliable and consistent.
Many entrepreneurs work late hours, and sometimes the reason they decide to reply to an email later is they read it at an odd time (say, 3:00 in the morning) and they think it would be best to wait until regular business hours to reply.
If this sounds like you, you may need an app like Boomerang, which allows you to send an email at 3:00 in the morning, but schedule it to be sent at 9:00 in the morning. That way, you’re still replying to your client’s email as soon as you read it (so that you don’t forget) but it’s going to be received by your clients during regular business hours.
#5. Take initiative and follow up
Always follow up with anyone who has once done business with you to see if they need anything else from you. Don’t send a generic follow-up email asking for their business again. Instead, take the initiative to think of a few opportunities you think they would be interested in, and impress them with a laid-out plan of action if they choose to work with you again.
Help your client visualize the benefits of working together again by providing examples of what you can offer and exactly how it will work for them. This will be much more well-received than your typical, generic follow-up would be. You can also offer to take them out for lunch to discuss an idea you have. Most people won’t turn down a free lunch, especially if it involves talk about improving their business.
#6. Put in the extra effort to build rapport
Likeability is key to getting repeat customers. Everyone prefers to work with someone they like, which is why building rapport with your clients is essential to your success as an entrepreneur.
You can build rapport by taking them out for a drink, discussing a shared interest of some sort, giving them tips on what to see during their trip to Hawaii or sending over a nice bottle of wine on a Friday. Remind your client that you’re their friend, not just another expense.
Do you know of anyone who could use a little help with getting more repeat clients? Share this article with them and let them know that it’s not as tough as it might seem.
Image: Author’s Own