What is the surest way to build a lucrative and rewarding freelance business? That’s easy. Get more repeat business and referrals!
That means your current clients are constantly assigning you work — as well as recommending you to others.
The benefits are enormous.
Repeat business and referrals means you can spend more time on billable work, and less time on prospecting. You can complete assignments faster, too, because you’re already familiar with your client’s products, services, markets, needs, and preferences.
So how do you become a “referable” copywriter; someone clients hire repeatedly and tell their colleagues about?
You’ll be surprised how simple it is.
- Be on time.
I hate to say it — but many freelancers have a horrible reputation for missing deadlines. And not just for assignments. They also miss phone meetings, are late for appointments, and get tardy in other areas, too. So you can actually gain a competitive advantage just by being on time!
Never miss deadlines. Show up for meetings as scheduled — especially phone meetings. Demonstrate your reliability continuously, and clients will rely on YOU to handle more freelance work.
- Do what you say.
Did you tell the client you’ll send a quote by 3 p.m. today? Were you asked to email a recommendation for a good printing company? Did you say your brochure copy and design will clearly explain the features and benefits of the new water-lubricating valve product?
Whatever you say you’ll do, DO IT.
Lots of freelancers make promises, but don’t keep them. To the client, this is frustrating.
Be the opposite. Be the freelancer who always follows through. Clients will reward your professionalism with more business.
- Finish what you start.
This may seem obvious. Of course you’re going to finish the job. Otherwise, you won’t get paid!
But I recently got a call from a potential client whose freelancer quit partway through a major project. “She just stopped returning my calls,” the angry marketing manager said. Apparently, the job was more complex than the writer anticipated, so she bailed. Always finish what you start, no matter how tough the going gets.
- Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
This is especially important when dealing with clients via email. For some reason, what seems funny or like friendly banter during a phone or face-to-face conversation can come across as terse or even rude in an email. The solution?
Be EXTRA polite.
This rule isn’t always easy to follow. What do you say when a client calls with 15 things she doesn’t like about your latest concepts? You say: “Thank you for the feedback.” Then get to work on the revisions.
There you have it. Simple rules. But, trust me, they work.
Do I follow these rules zealously? To be honest, no. I could do much better. And my goal this year is to do just that.
By the way, these four steps are based on the work of Dan Sullivan, an entrepreneur’s coach. Thanks, Dan.