Monday, August 17, 2009

GUEST POST: Why Your Clients Don't Call You Back

I'm starting off the week with a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Lori Widmer from Words on the Page. She's one of the bloggers I visit every day sometime between my morning email check and my morning coffee. Lori's eminently readable blog covers a diverse range of topics from dealing with difficult clients (and I'm pretty sure she's dealt with every difficult client out there) to getting the most from your marketing.

Why Your Clients Don't Call You Back
By Lori Widmer

You’ve done the legwork, marketed like mad, and now you have some regular clients. Feels good, doesn’t it? But how good is it going to feel when their current projects are over and you’re sitting there like a wallflower on prom night, wondering why they don’t call? But you did a great job on the project and you received praise and accolades from the client. So what gives? Here are a few things that may be getting in the way:

Your clients have forgotten about you. It’s nothing personal. In fact, that’s the problem. You may have left a great impression, but did you go just one step further to make your relationship with your clients personal? Much of my own repeat business comes from people whom I’ve befriended. Mind you, it’s a fine line to walk, but a smile, sharing something personal (though not too personal), or just asking how that person’s day is going and really listening to the answer is all you need. People want to do business with people they like. Be someone they can like. They’ll remember you for it.

You haven’t kept in touch. More than anything, clients respond to you when you’re in regular contact. If you send them a quick email, a postcard, even a quick call once every month, you stand a better chance of having that client say “Know what? Maybe now’s the time to get that project off the back burner.” And if they have something ongoing that’s becoming too much, guess who will be on their minds when they’re ready to outsource it? It’s not enough that you’ve cultivated their business the first time – clients need regular reminders that you’re there.

Your clients have your old info. When you moved that email account, did you tell them? I had a client recently who sent a referral to the wrong address. Yes, I’d informed him of my email change ages ago and I’d updated my online sources. Luckily for me the referral was persistent. It happens that people just hang on to the old emails, though. However, if you’re emailing them once a month, your note should have a nice bolded reminder at the top prompting them to change their address books to your new address. Keep that reminder there for a few months. We’re all busy and we all forget.

You didn’t follow up. I hate to say it, but there may have been part of the project your clients weren’t entirely thrilled with. If you’d sent them a note or given them a call a few days after sending out the final and the invoice, you’d be able to ask if there was anything they’d like to change, any concerns, and any areas you might clear up for them. And you’d give them a chance to voice those concerns, which could possibly save your relationship. There’s also a good chance they won’t respond. People get busy and this is a low priority for them. My policy – ask twice, then let it go. You’ve done your best to please and chasing them down for a response could be interpreted as your wanting validation.

Don’t lose that momentum you have with those new clients. Make sure to get your name in front of them regularly, you’re connected with them, and they can reach you. And don’t forget to reach out after the fact to ensure everything’s fine with the outcome. It’s much easier to keep clients than it is to find new ones, and it takes just a little added effort to get them calling you back.

Lori Widmer is a freelance writer and editor who blogs about writing and marketing at http://loriwidmer.blogspot.com.

5 comments:

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

The curse of a busy freelancer--failing to keep in touch with previous clients! Good points, Lori.

I try to check periodically to see if any of mine have accounts on LinkedIn and/or Twitter, too. Is it "networking" or "relationship building"? Either or both, good for business, I think.

yeast infection treatment said...

Thank you to give the tips that how do we treat to our client from which he could be impressed with us.

lwidmer said...

Thanks for asking me to guest post, Jen!

I find I get a lot of my work from previous clients, Georganna. Why not ask those who already like us to hire us? Since my mother's not hiring... ;)

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

Fantastic Advice as always Lori and it's great to see you visiting at Catalyst Blogger. :-)

I tend to specifically schedule my follow ups into my calendar. That way, after each job I know exactly when to follow up regarding the job and then when to follow up regarding the client. I've found it is so much easier to do it this way then mailing a dozen clients when my schedule starts looking thin and hoping some of them have new projects for me.

One of the biggest things to remember in marketing is that 'repeat' business is even more valuable than initial contact. It's always nice to have a new client but I truly treasure the ones that keep coming back for more.

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