[by Kevin Lock]
A successful photographer told me a long time ago that “keeping existing clients is so much easier than finding new ones.” I would add that keeping existing clients is much more important than finding new ones.
One way that I ensure repeat business from my clients is to make them feel special. I do this at every opportunity. Especially with my local clients. Why the local clients? Beside the obvious geographical reason, we share a community. For me that is San Diego. I know San Diego, and I like to share it with them.
I find out about events that my clients would most likely attend and I appear from time to time to mingle and give them a gentle reminder that I care about the things they care about and if I am not there working I am there having fun just as they are. It is kind of like sending a promo but a little more personal. Now this doesn’t necessarily quantify as a sit down ‘meeting,’ but it is is a meeting all the same. And at these events I often make more formal appointments either in person or by following up the next day with a ‘nice seeing you’ email.
My goal is to make clients really good clients and in the process develop not just a working relationship but a friendship. Once my client becomes a good client, I take it to the next level by getting involved with them socially. I offer to take them to lunch. Of course you have to be able to sense when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate and read your client carefully. Perhaps you have a client that you don’t want to take to lunch ( I have a few ), or if you are single and they happen to be married, and you are of the opposite sex, well the last thing you want to do is have your client think you are hitting on them. Exercise caution and use your best judgement.
I like to take my good clients to lunch every 3 or 4 months. I am not pushy. I don’t hit them up every week. I often will send them an email asking if they were aware of a new restaurant or a spot that has been featured in the local paper/reader, and let them know I was thinking about checking it out. Just asking for their opinion of a place (that they might not have even had a chance to try or know about) can lead to a lunch ‘date.’ I keep it open and ask them to check their calendar and let me know when it would be convenient for them.
Amazingly clients often become friends over lunch.
via Strictly Business.