5 tips for building client relationships that last
What do we want?
Lasting client relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
Where and when do we want them?
Popping up in our inboxes on a predictable, regular basis.
Is that really too much to ask?
All too often you can find yourself in a situation in which your client turnover is higher than you'd like.
A situation in which you seem to be mostly working on one-off projects for new clients rather than getting repeat work from existing ones.
The good news is there are plenty of things you can be doing to help make sure that your clients keep coming back to you again and again.
To help make sure that both you and your client are happy with the relationship and live happily ever after - or for just as long as it suits you.
Read on for five useful tips that will help you forge sustainable relationships with clients you love working with.
1. Free up space for clients you love
If you want to build lasting clients relationships then you need to free up time and energy for them.
So, the first step is to say goodbye to any clients that you aren’t enjoying working with.
That might be clients that pay you too little and aren’t willing to raise their rates. It might be clients that are less than pleasant when you interact with them, or don’t respect your time.
Whatever the reason, if you’re not happy with a client relationship then it’s probably time to cut them loose and make space for the kind of repeat clients you deserve.
Go through all your clients and decide if it’s time to ‘fire’ any of them. Then take a deep breath and send that email. It’s a great feeling.
2. Be careful about the clients you take on, and set healthy boundaries from day one
You can’t build a good relationship with just anyone. Not every client that comes your way is going to be right for you.
So the key to achieving lasting relationships with clients can be knowing which clients to say no to.
Before you start working with a new client, make sure you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision. If you’re not sure if they’re right for you, then you could suggest a trial project to see if you’re both happy to move forwards.
And if you’re seeing red flags or a little voice is telling you the client isn’t a good fit, then listen to it and walk away, perhaps referring them on to someone else.
If you do decide to move forwards, then make sure you start how you mean to go on. Don’t answer emails outside working hours, and don’t accept jobs with ridiculously short deadlines (or charge a rush fee if you do want to take the work).
After all, if you say yes to something once then it’ll be very hard to say no to it next time.
And if you’re going to have an ongoing relationship with this client, then it needs to be something that works for you long term, with you earning what you need to earn and not burning out in the process.
3. Charge your worth - and increase your rates regularly
To be able to put your heart and soul into work for a client, you need to be earning a fair rate.
So don’t accept anything less than your minimum rate. Trust us, it’s not worth it in the long run!
Because you won’t be able to sustain a long term relationship with a client if they’re not paying you enough.
And remember to raise your rates regularly - at least once a year is fairly standard. It might seem scary, but life gets more expensive with every passing year, so if you’re not charging more, then you’ll end up earning less.
Most clients understand that and will take rate increases in their stride. If they protest then it’s time to say goodbye, freeing up time for clients that can afford your rates.
4. Be a lovely human being
You should always be respectful and professional when dealing with your clients, of course. But there’s no need to always be standing on ceremony or using super formal language.
Let a bit of your personality shine through, and get to know the person on the other end of the email chain.
Ask them how they are, how their holiday was… It doesn’t have to be anything super personal, it’s just important to show you know they’re a human being!
If appropriate, schedule a call so you can put a face and voice to a name. That can make a huge difference to a working relationship.
If you’ve got time, things like sending Christmas cards are a lovely touch.
If they refer you on to another client, why not send them a little gift to say thank you?
After all, if they like you as a person and can tell you care about them and their business, then they’re far more likely to keep coming back to you.
5. Provide a seamless service
Last but not least, make sure you’re providing them with the best possible service.
Only accept work you know you can do well, and genuinely have the time for. Don’t try and cram too much in or take on projects that are outside your comfort zone.
Do what you do best - translating to the highest possible standard.
And let LSP.expert help you out with the rest.
We’re here to help you organise your time, keep track of your projects, stay on top of your admin, send professional-looking invoices quickly and more.
All of which means your clients know you’re trustworthy, reliable, professional and the perfect freelancer to build a long-term relationship with.
Want to see for yourself how LSP.expert could help you provide a better service, and keep your clients happy?