You may have heard of the Pareto principle, where 80% of your revenues will come from 20% of your clients. I’m not sure how true that holds for consultants, but it’s always seemed pretty likely to me. While it’s good to find new customers, it’s a lot easier to build strong relationships with current clients so they will buy again. Heck, they bought from you the first time. So how do you do it?
Speedy delivery makes a great impression. No one wants to wait forever for a project to arrive so it is critical to deliver on time, if not ahead of time. Depending on the kind of work you do, the quicker your clients receive their projects, the quicker they can hire you again.
Provide repeat customer discounts. Show your customers that you care by offering them special deals, discounts and coupons. (I particularly like the idea of offering a bigger discount for invoices paid within seven or 15 days, as it rewards loyal clients and puts money in your hands faster!)
Offer good customer service. Responding to email inquiries within a reasonable amount of time and properly addressing concerns makes a good impression and keeps clients willing to do business with you.
Streamline purchases. Do not make it difficult for customers to buy from you. I learned this the hard way, years ago, when a loyal client complained that my lengthy contract added to his workload. I started offering "change orders", so that he could order more services without needing to deal with a multi-page contract.
Remember, the secret to success is turning customers into repeat customers. So, always make that first purchasing experience a positive one. Scratch that. Make ALL purchasing experiences positive!