This is a guest post by Nicolas Acuna and Mikka Olsson, co-founders of Ebbex.com, an iPhone and iPad apps development company. In the last year, they’ve had great success (and committed a fair share of mistakes!) creating apps for clients all over the world and decided to share their findings with the fine readers of Inspired Mag in the new Freelancing 101 series.
One of the recurring themes of this series has been how to keep current clients happy with the hope that they will become future clients. In this post, we would like to talk about relationships with past clients. 3 Simple Steps to Gain New Business from Previous Clients
1- The personal email
Write to the decision maker and ask him or her how they are doing, how the organization is doing and how the project you worked on is doing.
If prior research indicates that the project has been successful, congratulate all those involved. If the opposite is true, offer valuable suggestions on how to remedy the situation or ask pertinent questions that can help you understand the situation.
Show past clients that you still care even if they are not paying you any more. Remember not to pitch any services at this point; its about re-establishing connection.
Having worked with them, you understand the products, industries and variables that your past clients deal with on a daily basis. One of the best way to remain on their radar is to send them resources, articles, tools, etc. that are directly related to them.
Keep in mind that you need to send touch points that are actually relevant and usable not merely about the same topic.
It takes time to constantly send past clients valuable information, here are some suggestions that might make your life easier:
– Keep a handy list of your past clients that includes a brief description of their offering, industry and products
– Keep them in mind as you read and surf the web and bookmark any relevant articles
– As a separate activity, filter the bookmarks and find what is actually relevant and useful for certain past clients and send it to them.
– Remember to keep the message short and to the point, its not a sales pitch, its a value touchpoint.
– Another great way to keep your name and contact info in front of your clients is by sending them promotional calendars. When they hang the calendar in their office or home, you’ll stay on top of their mind whenever they need you.
3- Smart Offer
Hopefully, your personal email(s), multiple touch-points and research have given you a sense of a particular former client’s needs. When the timing is right, you can propose fulfilling a particular need if it falls within your area of expertise.
For example: If you designed an iPhone UI and you have heard/read that the app got released and its doing very well, you can take initiative and propose to design for iPad and/or Android.
Being hired by former clients is extremely satisfying since it proves the value of your work and the fact was established the first time around. As you go for this “old” new business remember that any one can sense when your interest is not genuine, a mix of care and ambition is always welcome.
image copyright: Shorpy