So: your first project with a new client went swimmingly. Everyone came away happy and satisfied with the work that got done. You want to keep that first date, potential-filled energy flowing, don’t you?
Then we’ve got a couple of suggestions for ensuring that your relationship with your new client remains positive.
First thing’s first: you’ll want to make sure that your client doesn’t forget about you after you’ve finished your first project.
This isn’t a game of relationship chicken: call them! Send an email to your client thanking them for the positive experience you had on the project. Ask them if they have any workable ideas that you can help with.
If you don’t feel confident with such a direct approach, ask for their opinion on the progress of your project, just to keep the conversation flowing. No matter what, you want to keep your door open and let your client know that if they’re interested, you’d be happy to work with them again.
You’ll want to make sure, when establishing a more secure partnership with a previous client, that you can actually continue to evolve that relationship.
Sit down with your client and chat about their – and your – long-term goals.
Obviously, there can be room for negotiation, but a needs assessment on both your and the client’s end will ensure that any future partnerships are mutually beneficial.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have the time to meet your client’s potential needs. Time management apps, work especially effectively alongside an office calendar. Take a look at some of the older schedules you’ve recorded to determine how long you spent on elements of your client’s last project and give them the best estimate for the timeline you’ll be working on in the future:
Not only does this allow you to provide a more accurate estimate, but you’ll be able to schedule timely check-in dates thanks to your previously-recorded experiences.
Speaking of scheduling: while you’re planning your check-in dates, make sure you arrange some time to meet with your client out of your office.
That’s right – to make an impression and encourage your client to continue working with you on new projects, you’ll want to go beyond weekly emails or even consistent phone calls.
Get to know your client’s favorite local lunch spots or coffee shops. Discuss your mutual progress in a local park.
These face-to-face meetings will allow your client to get to know you as a person as well as a business partner. That familiarity will make them more comfortable working with you in the future.
Capitalizing on individuality not only helps your bottom line, but it helps you maintain better business partnerships.
For example: if your clients come to know your business for your outstanding customer service, then you’re more likely to gain consumer loyalty. Likewise, the employees your clients have direct contact should embody your business’s friendly attitude and strong work ethic. A good reputation is as likely to sell your service or product like any other form of advertisement.
Your potentially long-term clients will also appreciate it if you and your business have a strong and well-received reputation. If word around the water cooler gets out that they’ve partnered with your business, then your reputation can rub off on them, doing both of your bottom lines a favor.
Let your clients know what you can provide them with a product or service that no other partner can.
Similarly, make sure you address your clients respectfully and that you and your employees maintain a positive attitude.
If something over the course of a project goes wrong, for example, resist the urge to point fingers. Focus instead on how the problem can be solved and what lesson can be taken away from the mistakes. Positivity is contagious, and your clients will be more likely to return to you if they know that you have a can-do attitude.
Finally, don’t feel disappointed if, in trying to secure a second project with a client, the partnership doesn’t work out.
Some business relationships have to end naturally. This may be because your business and the client’s goals didn’t match, or simply because there was an interpersonal clash. Either way, if you’re unable to secure a second go-around with a client, don’t get discouraged.
Seek out other partnerships and remember: communication is key in ensuring that you and your clients make the most of a business relationship.
Cover image via Stocksnap.io