How do you keep your clients coming back for more?
Hello, friend, and welcome back to episode number 26 of my 31 day challenge where every single day I am answering your questions about creating a career or a business that you love. And in this episode, we are talking about how do you keep a client coming back for more? How do you get them, to feel like you're the catnip and they just can't resist? How do you get clients to keep coming back, keep parting with their cash, keep wanting to work with you on bigger and beautiful things?
We'll be diving into all of that. If you've got a question you can ask me on Instagram or Twitter @alexmakesvr is my handle. You can send me a longer email email@example.com and every single day I'm sending out a newsletter. Yes, I am. If you would like me to pop up in your inbox every day just to give you a nudge that the episode is live, but also give you the inside scoop on what I talked about in the episode. You can sign up for the newsletter www.alexmakesvr.com.
This is a transcript of the podcast episode. Instead you can listen here:
Okay, peeps, let's dive into this all wet. How do you keep a client coming back for more? Such a good question. I think ultimately, the the big part is just delivery fucking phenomenal service and this will really kind of depend on firstly, whether you want the clients come back for more. I mean, the number one reason why it's good to try and build a relationship with a client to be ongoing is one of the kind of trials and tribulation of freelance life is the fact that you need to try and build some consistency in your revenue streams, right? Like, the the aim of the game is to be able to have a consistent amount of money coming in. So you don't necessarily have to worry. I mean, wouldn't it be the dream if you could have enough consistent clients on retainer, or you were kind of banking on a certain amount of money from those clients every single month? So that you knew guaranteed definitely every single month rent and food is covered? Anything else is a bonus on top of that that is like the dream, right? And it's very, it is quite easy to get to that place. I think, how do you keep a client coming back for more, I think the number one thing is you have to be delivering a service that, that needs to be done more than once. So if you're going after small one off businesses that just need one virtual tour or one 360 training video, and then it's done. Those are not necessarily going to be the kind of clients that will keep coming back for more because once you've offered that one service, it's done.
So the first part of this pie is to or I should probably have said puzzle that's probably more apt, but I am quite I've been craving pie recently. I don't know what that's about also, just like definitely not pregnant, but definitely having the weirdest cravings at the moment. The other night, I went out to Tesco at 10pm to get Honey Nut Cheerios, just was like had this intense craving for Cheerios. How strange is that? That's weird.
Anyway, okay, back to the questions like, so, how do you get those kind of clients that that do need consistent, so consistent work from you. So it depends on obviously what kind of service you're delivering, but ideally you want and this will take a while you will have to do some of those one off jobs to get to a point where you can maybe go after a client like this. But ideally, you want a client who has more than one base more than one office more than one portfolio of houses like whatever it is you may you might be doing. I'm going to assume for the sake of this episode that we're going to be talking about the corporate world, and we're probably talking about 360 photos and videos and virtual tours.
So for example, if you were to go to like a one off cafe and do a 360 for them that they could upload to their Google business listing to promote their business and get the more clients that's a one off job. But if you went after a hotel chain that doesn't even need to be like a big hotel chain, but maybe you have like a hotel that you do stuff for like the hotel rooms, but then actually they also they've got spas, so maybe you need to do like maybe you sell them and not only 360 photos of the spa but maybe you pitch them the idea of like a 360 video experience of how relaxing and therapeutic the spa is. Maybe you sell them the idea of all you've you know you have this affiliation with the local go karting association or whatever it is. What if you had a VR headset in the lobby, and you had a 360 experience on there on what it's like to like, go on, like all of these little activities that you you guys sell to your, to your body called the people that stay at hotel visitors, I guess.
So maybe there's like that that you can do, but also, this hotel has like multiple locations, multiple different sites and maybe, maybe you could do that. Maybe you go after like a Tourism Board, because a Tourism Board will have, not only will they have like, lots of recommendations that they could make, but also they could, they could potentially have lots of different areas within tourism that they want to cover. So you're looking for those kind of umbrella clients that have lots going on and need them like a real estate agent is like a prime example of that, because obviously, their job, they are never going to run out of properties, because otherwise they will go bust. So getting in with a real estate agent, and doing a really good job and becoming their go to for virtual tours of properties. That's like the easiest way to kind of build a client relationship and have that kind of becomes something that could be quite repetitive. Same with event companies, when obviously we are back in the world where we can have events and go after events, companies who their whole business is all around doing multiple events.
So you know that you're going to have it's not just this as one off project, there's going to be a sustainable pipeline of work. And in terms of how do you get them to how do you do that first job, and then get them to come back, for more. We talked about this in another episode which one it was, but I like to always refer to the three triangle and the three edge trial. Well, all triangles have three corners don't like the three areas that most people look at when it comes to who they want to work with? Are they a nice person? Do I get on with them? Are they someone I can have a laugh with? Or someone that I like and have good chat with? Or are they just like a nice person to be around they want you know, so much of wanting to work with someone is because you really get on with them. And unfortunately, that is the truth in any industry. Because as I always say business and life, it's a people's game. So number one probably will be a good to work with number two will be how high quality is your work? You know, do you? Do you deliver a good service ultimately? Are your photos doing their job? And also, are you going one step beyond that is that especially when you're just starting to court, a client when you're trying to kind of like do you're trying to impress them, you go above and beyond on that first project. You know, you go above and beyond to make sure that everything is like just perfect. You know, so maybe you'll say, okay, with this project, obviously, we agreed on this many shots and this many rounds of amends. But you know what, I really loved working with you, Jerry, and I'm super excited about working with you in the future. So how about on this project, we you know, I give you these extra few shots, and another round of events for free in good faith, because then hopefully, you know, you'll consider me the next time that you need another virtual tour doing like that. So you might, you might want to do that. Now, if you are going to do that always set up that, that is not the norm. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my career is going above and beyond for clients and like doing all that stuff but not saying that that wasn't necessarily part of the package. So when I started to kind of say - oh, okay, well, this, this thing is gonna cost five grand now instead of three. They're like, wait, what, what it was like three last time? And I'm like - yeah, no, but you know, you needed all of this extra stuff, which wasn't included the first time and then... oh, you didn't say that. So you know, that's not good. So make sure that you overly communicate and if you do ever do anything extra to sweeten the deal, make sure they are aware that that's what you're doing, so, so important and I will still do that with clients and often the kind of projects that I work on now, with clients because they are quite there, they're usually big budgets with long timelines and the budget has to kind of be agreed first because there's like a whole chain of command that has to sign off the budget. And sometimes it will get to a case where we're like, two days into production, or we're like a week away from production or something. And we're like, you know what this production needs, it needs XYZ, and we haven't budgeted for that. But I think personally from my point of view as the director and producer as the person that is controlling the reins of this creative vision, this project, I'm willing to sync, the cost of a sound assistant, and extra lighting kit that we need to hire x, whatever it is, I'm willing to do that because I want the quality of this piece to really blow them away. And I know that your budget has been signed off, and we were already super tight on budget and so I'm going to sync that cost because I want this to be the best it can be. So I still do that to this day,b ut I will always overly communicate well, that with the client, because I don't want them to then just assume that, oh, yeah, I know what this meant much budget gets me, you know, every single time. So that's a really big thing to like, think about managing expectations.
So are you nice to work with? Is your quality of work like a really high standard? And then the other one, it does come down to like, are you delivering on time? But also, it's kind of all you delivering on budget, like what kind of budget and this will depend because you can charge you can charge the same client the same, you can charge two different clients the same price. And they will have a totally different experience about like, how they see that money to their business and so if you deliver a prod product that is exactly the same...like let's say it's like, you know, it's it's an 8 out of 10 in terms of quality and it costs the same price...let's say two grand, let's say it's a 360 video, and it's like, you know, just like a one off talking to camera piece or something. So, you know, two grand, it's a10 in terms of quality to one business, that might be...oh, God, they implemented it perfectly. The headsets, like the person who runs like the kind of the the workshop that they use it in, he really loves VR, or she really loves VR and so she's like, super passionate about, you know, showing it to people. So it's getting used a lot, which is getting loads of good feedback, which is then feeding back to the person who commissioned it, which is making them feel good. And it's super exciting. And yes, oh my God, what a bargain. When you paid two grand for this and 300 quid for the headset and look at the buzz, this is building as 100% do this. Again, this is like exactly the kind of inner truth innovative thing that we needed in the company to get like customer and employee morale up like this is exciting. And then another client could have the absolute opposite experience, they've shed out two grand on this thing and 300 quid for a headset, and no one's touched it because everyone in the office is a technophobe and they haven't found the time to be able to implement the project perfectly. So actually, when they did try it, the headset didn't work. And then because they technophobes, they couldn't like figure it out. And so it got really stressful and actually threw the day off and all...do you know what I mean? So some of it will come down to their own like experience of what so then they will be like - oh, what a waste of two and a half grand nearly like, so much of that is a how much of that can you safeguard? How much of that can you kind of get on top of and this is why you need to be really, really on top of your processes. If you are delivering for VR, specifically for VR, because 360 is a little bit less as long as you're delivering a virtual tour a 360 photo or video that they're just uploading to Facebook or YouTube or embedding on their website like, vaguely, I mean, obviously, there are still things that could go wrong, but it's a bit more of a simpler process than a company having to you know, use a headset and make sure that they know how to do it and make sure they know what to what to do when the update kind of glitches it all out and you need to restart and what you need to do when the battery needs replacing the controller and all of the stuff that comes along with delivering to a VR headset, making sure that you're super on top of that making sure that you're preparing the customer for that making sure that when they bring you in because they're super excited about VR, that you're not just selling them, the actual 360 video that goes on the headset, but you're selling them and you're not necessarily even selling them the headset, but you're making sure that they are super aware of what that whole workflow looks like. Also, how they can implement it in their business properly, so that then they do have the experience of the first client where two and a half grand seems like an absolute steal, because it's had such a positive impact on their business versus if you just didn't but this wouldn't necessarily always be your fault. But if you're brought in and you literally just deliver the 360 video, but then they have absolutely no idea what to do with it or they don't use it properly.
So maybe even things, like going out of your way to begin with following up with the client making sure that they know that they can call you if they need to troubleshoot any of the tech, kind of holding their hand through the process. Again, all of that is going that next step and to build a really good relationship with the client so that so that it makes it easy for them to come back to you. That's the whole thing with coming back to you and there will be, absolutely, there will be some clients that the only thing they care about is price, and if they can find someone cheaper, they will and all of a sudden someone on fiver is offering what you can do, then they'll go there, because the only thing they care about is price. But those aren't really the kind of clients that will kind of keep coming back for more anyway, they're not the kind of clients that you necessarily want to work with. You want the kind of clients that they really value, your expertise, they trust you, they value your services, and they know ultimately that it's going to have a big impact on their business, or whatever it is that they are interested in selling or doing and the reason why they're commissioning the VR or the 360 piece in the first place is because they know what a big impact it's going to have. Like, those are the kind of clients you want to find and work with and that will take time and that will take time of like working with clients and then realising that they're not a good fit for you.
Because that's the other side of the coin, right? It's like, how do you get clients to keep coming back to you, when sometimes, you work with clients that you don't want to keep coming back to you? And that maybe is for another episode. So ultimately, I think what it comes down to is:
Number one, find clients that actually can come back to you continuously because they have the scope to commission lots of different work. It's hard with especially VR, VR definitely has a much longer life time in terms of people deciding whether or not to implement it long term. So they very rarely will just jump in and be like, excellent, we've got a year's worth of VR work that we want to do together unless you're plugging into. And that's a kind of a good point. Actually, if you want, this won't be consistent work, but if you want a client that comes back to you repeatedly, definitely go down the route of creative agencies as well, if that's something you're interested in, because especially if you can become chummy with the project managers at a creative agency that decide what freelancers come in on a project. Obviously, the whole point of a creative agency is that they deal with several brands and several companies at the same time. So that could be also a really easy way, if you can get in there, create good impression, deliver good work, deliver on time, deliver that with that, it's kind of nice, because you kind of just show up, you do your job, and then it's done. You don't necessarily have to worry about the implementation on the kind of client side because that's the agency's job, but still have to kind of build that rapport with that project manager, so they can't resist coming back to you every time. And so yeah, that's another also like, very valid, very valid kind of light source to go after. I think I was talking about ditching clients before that, but I think we'll save that for another episode.
I think ultimately, when it comes to getting those repeat clients, just be just be a ray of sunshine that someone can't resist working with and know that sometimes it's out of your control, a lot of the times it's out of your control, whether it be budgets, or whether it be the amount of times that someone has kind of like picked me to the post on like a job because, you know, usually be a nepotism thing of like - oh, so and so's buddy with, you know, the founder of blah, blah, blah. So actually, that's the recommendation they went with, and they've gone with a different company because of that. But when you can like kind of get that face time with the client, build that rapport, actually show an interest in their business, that's another big one as well like, and I do that, actually, I genuinely do that. Because I'm just super curious about everything, and I'm, I'm convinced that I might actually be an AI. And I just constantly devour new information and I want to soak up and understand that it doesn't matter what the subject matter is or what the industry is, I'm super curious, especially when it comes to business. I'm always super curious about people's businesses, and people like that or especially if you're working directly with the owner of that business. People love talking about that, that's their pride and joy, that's their baby like so it's actually really humbling for them and, and they really want to talk about their journey with the business and what their vision is, and that kind of thing. And that helps feed into what you're then going to pitch them back with your work, but also, if you're curious person, if you're actually interested, then it's like you're learning stuff as well. So it's like a win win.
Generally, the punchline actually is that the best clients that keep coming back to you is when it's a win win for both of you and it just makes it makes no sense for them to go anywhere else. So I'm going to end this episode here. I hope that helps. I hope that there was some actionable stuff in there, even if it's just like even thinking about the kind of client you're going to go after, if you want it to kind of be a repeat client. Obviously, there's a whole rabbit hole, we could go down in terms of working for retainer versus just one off project fees. I mean, although I like the idea of the retainer, I've never found it works in principle, because you end up...well, I mean, I personally felt like a bit tied down into retainers and obviously, it ties you into certain rates, so it makes it difficult to kind of grow in terms of how much money you can charge for projects and that kind of thing. But it's a super exciting thing when you're just starting as a freelancer, and you've got a retainer client, which is going to pay your rent for the next three or six months. That's super exciting! So I absolutely wouldn't discount it and if stability is something you're looking for whilst working for yourself, retainer clients are like the best and that is definitely going to come in the form of people like real estate who need constant content and can definitely secure you a certain amount of money every month.
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