It takes a lot more time, effort and money to win new client than to get a reorder, it’s a known fact. Yet most small businesses focus their strength into winning new accounts rather than keeping the existing ones.
In some ways, I can understand that, every business needs new clients and not only for financial reasons. You need a variety of projects too. You need new challenges and working with the same clients all the time may not satisfy that need.
However, when you take finances into consideration it is extremely wise to try to get as much work from your existing client base and here are my favorite 5 ways to achieve that:
1. Give a repeat order discount. Nothing speaks better to people that an opportunity to get something for free or at a greatly reduced price. Offer your client an incentive to come back and many of them will. Of course, a financial reward always works the best but you may want to offer additional services or other additional benefits instead. Test and see what works best for your market and clientele and stick to it.
2. Introduce loyalty card system. Another great idea is to try to tie a client with you in some way. Naturally any black hat tricks are not a way to go, however a good loyalty card system often works very well with keeping clients coming back. Of course, as long as the reward is worth it.
3. Run workshops for your clients. This is by far my most favorite way to keep clients coming back. Offer your clients so much value, entirely for free that they will almost feel obliged to give you the order in return. I used to do it by running monthly workshops for my clients only. And I would always choose wise whom I would invite on them. I would have a group of clients that would be coming in regularly each month but I would also invite one of two new clients to each session. And in most cases those new clients would always convert to returning ones.
4. Give your clients bonuses for new clients they refer to you. This method is widely used to bring new business in, however you can use it to retain existing customers too. Offer your clients a service up to certain amount for free for every 4 jobs you get through them for instance. Not only you will get new business but your client will come back for his reward too. Of course sometimes his job will be covered by the free amount but other times you might actually make some money on it too. The key here though is to get your client to order again as the more they order the less likely they are to do so again.
5. Provide insanely great customer experience. This is probably the most common technique for bringing clients back and it works. If you provide great service and experience, the client will want to use you again. But here is a catch: every project with new client will start well but it is how it ends that matters. Your client won’t remember how nice and helpful you were at the start but you will be judged by your behavior and attitude towards the client when the project was about to close.
Getting a reorder is a skill every small business owner has to master, and it is one that’s really tough to be super proficient at, especially when you’re only starting. And I noticed that many self employed people are stressed out by doing this. In reality though, getting a reorder should eventually become a natural thing for you. Because let’s face it, a reorder from a client is a sign of one thing only: that you are doing your job well.