Writers have similar issues to others out there in the “job market” regarding having the need to hang on to sources of income. Instead of a paycheck to safeguard, writers safeguard clients. In order for the flow of income to stay somewhat steady, writers need to persuade clients to give them repeat business. Clients should return for that next project down the line that needs content written. A writer’s survival depends on repeat business from these clients.
Repeat business means not having to go out there and sell yourself to someone who doesn’t already know how good you are. Repeat business means not having to prove that you can get the job done on time, with no grammar and spelling errors and that the content will be written to the client’s specifications. Convincing first time clients not only takes time but also may often take a little “sweeten the pot” action in the way of a small discount. This of course cuts into profits. It is timely and cost effective to cultivate the relationship between the client and the writer in order to decrease the cost of doing business, and create more time for writing because less of it is spent securing new writing gigs.
Ingredients to Securing Repeat Clients
There is a formula to securing those repeat clients and it includes five basic ingredients. In order to “tip the scale” towards having a client remember you the next time they have a writing project, a writer needs to impress upon them:
1. That they are someone the client can trust
2. That they can expect you to give good customer service
3. That you have xcellent communication skills
4. That you put out consistent quality writing effort each and every time you write for them.
Clients need to see that “Super Writer Effort” with each and every assignment you hand them back.
The last ingredient is worth imphasizing and that is that you MUST provide follow-up to every assignment so that clients feel that they matter and that there is more than just a fee involved in the relationship. Clients that perceive the notion that a writer really cares about the end result of the writing are more likely to give repeat business because they will know that the writer feels a sense of responsibility for the success of the project.
How do You Get and Maintain These Ingredients?
In order to show a client that you can be counted on, writers need to let clients know from that very first communication and every one afterwards that they understand what the assignment is, and the deadline. Every communication with the client should include a “Can Do” attitude. Each communication should offer opportunity for the client to communicate with the writer during the writing process and that questions and further instructions are welcome. Give the client progress reports during the assignment, especially if it is a long one. It is good policy to welcome any changes the client makes to illustrate the point that you are willing to “get it right”.
Excellent Customer Service begins the first day of the writing relationship with the attitude that the “customer is always right” which is of course the same thing employees often hear from bosses. Each writing job must be done to the satisfaction of the client and the job is not done until the client says that it is. Rewrites are not something to dread but to be viewed as another opportunity to please and retain a valuable client. If you are willing to give good customer service at every turn of the assignment, the client will see your attitude coming through and be assured that this is how you approach all your jobs.
Communication is vital to securing repeat business. This is especially true in the “online business world” where clients feel distant and “unattached” to your business. Offline clients can visit your home or office and see tangible clues to your existence, meeting you in person if necessary to be reassured that you are indeed a real person, responsible for completing the task. In the online world, business communication takes the form of email, IM, chat room and also by placing a phone call that may turn out to be an international one. Writers must offer all necessary formats of communication in order to give clients assurance that they are reachable. Nothing freaks a client out more than a looming deadline and no word at all from the writer.
Every client should feel that the writer is super-natural in ability to meet or better yet exceed deadlines. Clients are assured when the content comes back with a quality that far surpasses expectations. Super effort is recognized when the work is presented with no spelling or grammar errors and looks clean and readable (text flows). Writers dislike rewrites and revisions, well guess what? Not having to ask for a rewrite or revision and being happy with the first version thrills the client too. A writer should feel that everything they write represents their “brand” and that nothing goes to the client unless it is “perfect”.
Follow-up is one way that the writer has to convince a client that their business is important and that they are valued. There are many opportunities to follow-up with a client including giving updates on how the writing is progressing (especially necessary when the job requires more than a week to complete). After the assignment is turned in, contact the client to see how the project turned out. Follow-up shows that you are a professional concerned with not just the fee collection, but with having the finished assignment be one that “works for the client”. Did the writing fulfill the purpose for which the client intended it?
The ingredients that secure “repeat clients” are those things that should be “second nature” to how writers run their business. Writing Assignments should always be done with reliability, excellence in customer service, and consistency in communication, super effort and follow-up each and every time. These ingredients must become like breathing to the writer if repeat customers are to be a part of doing business.