We’ve already talked about ending a tough project, but we may have jumped the gun a bit since we didn’t establish how to tie up a project properly if everything went well.
Most business owners send an invoice to the client -- and then maybe a thank you email -- and walk away. They don’t do anything else, which means they miss an opportunity to stand head and shoulders above any creative the client has ever worked with before. This opportunity costs almost nothing and takes only a bit of time, yet many business owners ignore it completely.
Let's look at how you can rise above the average business owner crowd.
Email is great. It’s fast and we can do it from anywhere. With services like Right Inbox, we can even time delay our responses. That doesn’t mean that email is all you should use, though.
If you want to stand out, then get a pack of note cards and at the end (and at the beginning) of projects send your clients a card. Tell them you were happy to work with them and they were awesome.
No other online creative workers are doing that and if you do, you'll stand out far above anyone else in your field. Better yet, if you can send a small gift, do it. As you can see, my site is Lego-themed, so I’ll send my best clients a little Lego figure of me which costs me little and makes me stand out even more.
If you can’t get to the mail regularly, you could also delegate this to your assistant. The point is to send something in the mail that will make you even more amazing in the eyes of your client than you already are.
When I do development projects clearly I must put all the client's code on a server so they have all the code. The few times I do minor design work, I go a step further. At the end of the project I get all the assets I produced during the project and archive them into a single Zip file and send that to the client.
This means they have control of everything and don’t need to come back to me to request some extra asset. Do they still ask me for things I’ve sent? Yes they do, but far less once I started to include everything I produced while building the site.
When you complete a single project, you’re really just starting your relationship with the client. Now is the time to follow up with them and make sure they’re happy with the project. I set up a two-week follow up reminder and a two-month follow up reminder in Contactually.
When I touch base with them I make sure they’re not having any issues with the site or they don’t have any other needs for their business now. It’s not uncommon for my two-month follow up to result in more work as they want to expand on the work I did originally.
[Tweet "When you complete a single project, your relationship with the client is just beginning."]
When I added that two-month follow up I increased my sales and decreased the number of new clients I needed to find.
After that two-month follow up all the clients I’d like to work with again get on my quarterly follow up schedule in Contactually. Almost no freelancer or business owner follows up with their clients long term. They usually check out their work in 18 months and realize that the client did a whole new project with someone else and they never even got a chance to bid on it.
If you can implement these thrree things in your client care, you’re going to set yourself far above your peers. That’s going to mean more sales, more referrals, and more repeat work.
That’s a business that’s easier to run.