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Where do you look for new work?One of the most asked questions I’ve heard over the years is “how do I get new design clients?” It’s a valid question. But let me turn it around and ask you, why do you need new design clients when your existing clients have plenty of new work you could do for them?
In this week's episode of the Resourceful Designer podcast, I discuss how you can leverage your existing clients to get new work. Be sure to listen for the full story.
Your clients already know you.
Wouldn’t it be easier for both you and your client to work on new projects together since you already have a relationship started? It would be so much easier than starting from scratch with a new client.
“But if my clients had new work for me they would surely let me know.”
Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. In fact, your clients may be coming up with all sorts of great design projects and not thinking about you at all. There are so many jobs and projects that go on in a business that would be perfect for you but for some reason your name never comes to mind. Things like display and presentation boards, facebook ads, internal handouts and so much more.
It’s not because the client doesn't want to spend the money, it’s simply a case of them not realizing it’s a job for a skilled designer.
Why don't they ask me to do it?
The answer may be as simple as your client not knowing the full scope of what you are capable of. To learn more, listen to episode 2 of the podcast.
If your client hired you for web design they may not know you also do print design or vice versa. Just because you designed a logo for a company don't presume they know you can also design their business cards and stationary unless you've told them. A lot of clients don't think that way.
Telling a client you can design everything for them isn’t enough. Because your client may not know what “everything” entails.
How do I get new work from existing clients?
The answer is simple, make sure they don't forget about you. In other words, make sure you have a good relationship with them. Because people don't forget those they have good relationships with. And if they have a good relationship with you, they will think of you when new work comes up.
How do you build a good client relationship?
The trick is to keep in constant contact. No, I don't mean you should stalk your client. Just make sure they don’t forget about you. You have plenty of tools at your disposal you could use without seeming overbearing.
Email or e-newsletter.
Email or E-newsletters are great ways to stay in contact with your clients. Use them to let your client know what you've been up to.
- Let them know what interesting projects you've done for other clients.
- Let them know what new skills you've acquired.
- Let them know what new products or suppliers you've started using.
- Let them know what new services you're offering.
- Let them know anything and everything that may peak their curiosity.
Your clients may find something you write about interesting and ask you to do a similar project for them.
Don't forget to send personal emails to congratulate your clients on anniversaries, events, new products, accomplishments, and anything else of interest. Congratulating them via email is much more personal than doing so over social media.
Any reason you can find to reach out to your clients and remind them you are there is a good thing.
Who knows, they may just reply to your email with some nice new work for you to do.
Email is good, but hearing your voice is so much better. Follow the same examples as above but do so over the phone. They will appreciate it more and remember it longer.
Not to mention that having you on the phone makes it much easier for them to ask your advice and possibly send some new work your way.
Follow your clients on social media and interact with them. Comment on, like, and share your client’s posts. They take notice of who is following them and will remember you for it when they have new work that requires a designer.
Visit them in person
The above methods are a great way to improve client relations. But nothing beats a face to face meeting to drum up new work. Even if it's just popping in unannounced to say hello while you're in the neighbourhood. The fact that you took the time to stop in shows that you are serious about your relationship with them. Plus, there’s something about having you right there in front of them that can spark a client’s memory which can easily lead to you leaving with new work to do.
A wealth of opportunities exist.
We spend so much time worrying about attracting new clients that we sometimes overlook the wealth of opportunities available from our existing clients
Reach out to them. The worst that can happen is you build a better relationship with them which could lead to new work in the future. And that’s never a bad thing.
How have you leveraged your existing clients for new work?
Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.
Questions of the Week
Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.
This week’s question comes from Ruel
I'm starting to offer design services for payment. In the past I didn't charge. I'm at a point where I utilized a stock image from a service called Shutterstock.com. Since the service charges for license, how would you go about charging for a design project that uses licensed material like a photograph?
Would you pay for the photograph license and include that cost for the overall job?
Would you have the client pay for the photograph license separately and charge for the design job without it?
To find out what I told Ruel you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Tip of the week Payment Fees
This week's tip is more of a warning. If you are charging your clients an additional fee when they pay by credit card or through services like PayPal you are probably breaking the law. According to the terms of agreement with these companies, you are not allowed to pass the service fee you pay on to your clients. If you are caught doing so you could loose the privilege of accepting payments that way.
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I want to help you.
Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org