Contracting Life

How contractors can win back old clients

Now lockdown is over and restrictions are gradually easing, more and more contractors are finding that work is beginning to…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

Now lockdown is over and restrictions are gradually easing, more and more contractors are finding that work is beginning to pick up again at long last. In some cases, this is in the form of new clients and new projects, but for some, it’s a return of old clients and pre-pandemic projects. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to get in touch with past clients to see if projects are picking back up again and to put yourself in their sights for anything new.

If you don’t feel this is something you can do, it may be that you need to work on building relationships with clients that last once the project is over. But how do you make sure you’re able to maintain a good relationship with past clients and keep them coming back when new opportunities to work together arise?

We have some top tips from our years of experience with contractors to help you ensure repeat business from clients well into the future.

Always leave on good terms

On your final day of a project, it can be all too easy to just part ways without so much as a goodbye – especially if you’re working remotely and simply pressing send on one last email. Whether you’re in-person or online, always thank your client for the work, let them know that you enjoyed working with them and that you would love to work with them again if anything arises.

And if you are in person, it can’t hurt to bring in some final-day treats or buy everyone a drink after work. You want them to remember that they’ve enjoyed working with you as well, after all.

Ask for feedback

Once the project is complete, it’s always beneficial to ask for feedback. It allows you to see how others view your work and it also encourages your client to reflect on their time working with you, making you even more memorable to them. If their feedback is really positive, you could even ask them if you can use it as a testimonial on your website for others to read.

If your project is a small part of a larger whole, you could also ask if they can keep you updated on how it all comes together so they can see that you have a genuine interest.

Keep in touch

Staying friendly with clients is a sure-fire way to keep yourself at the forefront of their memory when it comes to new projects. Check-in every so often with a message or email to see how things are going (perhaps ask about the wider impact of your project or something to that effect).

One of the easiest ways to stay in touch in a professional capacity is to add them on LinkedIn. This also enables you to see if/when your hiring manager or people from the team you’ve worked with move on to pastures new – you never know, they may look at re-hiring you there.

Be direct

If you see that they have a project you believe you’d be perfect for, tell them. Not only are you reminding them of the great work you’ve carried out for them previously, but you’re also demonstrating that you’ve kept an interest in them and kept current with what they’re up to. If you’ve kept in touch with them since you last worked together, your contact won’t be completely out of the blue and so won’t seem like a “cold call”.

Keep your portfolio or website up to date

Your website and/or portfolio is the best place to show off the work you’ve carried out for clients, so get in the habit of updating it every few weeks so that it includes current and completed projects. This allows both old and potential clients to easily see what you’ve worked on previously and what you’re busy with right now.

You might wonder why past clients would need to see this, but remember that it could be months or even years since they last worked with you, so it’s handy to be able to see what you’ve been up to. You may now have a new area of expertise that’s very useful to them.

It’s always nice when a client comes back to work with you again. It’s the ultimate sign that you did a great job and that you made a strong impression. Hopefully, the winning combination of these tips and your stellar work will keep them coming back again and again.

Just remember, in these post-lockdown times, to keep yourself ready for work at as short a notice as you can manage, and make sure you’re fully insured so you’re good to go when a past client asks you to hop on board a new project.

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