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As a small business owner, it is easier and more cost-effective to win repeat business from existing clients than to gain new clients. Existing clients have already reaped the rewards of using your services and know that you can be relied upon to do a good job. Here are four ways in which you can maximize your chances of winning repeat business.
Always Meet Your Deadlines and Try to Deliver Work Ahead of Schedule. If you consistently deliver high quality work on time or even before your deadlines, the client will turn to you first when he has extra work as he knows that you can be relied upon to meet your commitments in a timely fashion.
Bear this in mind when negotiating deadlines. Do not feel obliged to accept a deadline that is too tight. It is better to ask for some extra time in which you will be able to deliver a high quality product than it is to agree to a tight deadline and produce sub-standard work. The client will be more likely to remember the quality of your work than the fact that you met a tight deadline.
Always Answer Emails and Return Telephone Calls Promptly. This does not mean that you should rush to answer a client’s question. If you don’t know the answer immediately, just send the client a quick reply thanking her for her question and saying that you will get back to her with an answer as soon as possible. It is much better to keep the channels of communication open in this way than to ignore an email or telephone message from a client because you are unsure of the correct response.
At the End of a Project, Thank the Client With A Gift Basket. Thank the client for the opportunity to have worked with him on this project. Say that you have enjoyed working with him and that you look forward to the opportunity to work together again in future. Express your genuine feelings about your good working relationship without being pushy or over-the-top.
Keep in Touch with the Client Regularly. This does not mean that you should ring the client every week asking her if she has more work. Instead, send a link to an article that you think may be of interest to her or forward information on a conference that she may be interested in attending. Don’t do this too often. Once every one to two months is often enough for the client to remember you and to be grateful for the snippets of information that you bring to her attention.
If you follow these tips, there is every chance that your client will turn to you first when he requires someone with your expertise to work on a project. If your client changes jobs, you may even find that he calls on your services from his new company, thereby enabling you to win business at a new client company and extend your list of clients.
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