There is an acronym in the sales/marketing world: ABC. It means “always be closing.”
While this is a fantastic strategy and mindset when marketing for new clients, many self-employed people don’t think it applies past the “yes” and starting to work together.
So, in this short article, I will give you the 3 best ways you can make more money and continue to “sell” yourself to clients you’re already working with.
1. Ask for more work
This may sound simple…“Oh, duh, just ask for more.”
But the truth is that once you have a contract in place and are working with a client, it is often easy to go on autopilot and do the work and move on to looking for more clients.
But you have a golden opportunity here! The client already likes and trusts you, you know the voice/tone for their business, and they already understand the value you add to their business (since they are already paying you!).
So, ask for more work.
Let’s say you are a content writer/blogger, and you’re writing one post per week for a client.
Reach out to the client and ask if they’ve considered writing additional posts per week/month.
And ask if they need writing in other areas! Writing skills help with much more than just blog posts. For example:
- Writing social media posts
- Writing content for LinkedIn that parallels with the blogs on the client’s website and links to the site
- Writing website copy
- Email campaigns
- Writing email templates for a business
And more. Use your knowledge of the client’s business and their goals to find ways your specific writing skills can help the business grow.
2. Expand/upsell more services for the same client
Similar to the first tip, this next one is about expanding past simply writing and using any other skills you have to “upsell” your services.
For example, instead of just writing and editing blog posts and sending them to the client, you can offer to take the entire blog process off their plate. Let them know they can simply provide ideas (or you can put together a list of ideas to choose from!), and you’ll write the post, source images, edit the post, then physically go into WordPress, Medium, LinkedIn, or whatever blog platform they use, and post it for them.
Or you can offer to use your knowledge of SEO to search for relevant keywords and use SEO optimization techniques to improve their rankings in the SERPs.
Or you might use your social media savvy to offer to manage their social media accounts and create beautifully-written Instagram or Facebook posts.
Maybe you took a course on IG and FB ads and can upsell your services to include creating and managing paid ads for the client.
Depending on your skills and areas of expertise, there are tons of ways you can expand the type of work you do with a client. Small businesses, especially, love working with this type of freelancer because you are ultimately saving them time and energy of dealing with other (necessary but sometimes annoying) parts of the business.
3. Ask for referrals
Finally, one of the best things you will ever do for your business is to remember to ask them for referrals.
Now, I never wait until AFTER I finish working with someone to ask for referrals.
Once I have a good working relationship with a client, I shoot a quick email with something like this:
I really enjoy working with you and wanted to check in to see if anyone you know may need similar services. I recently finished a large book editing project and have the time and bandwidth to add 1–2 new clients to my roster. If you know of anyone, I’d love an introduction!
And I also periodically (about 2–3 times per year or when it makes sense) reach out to old clients I am no longer working with to check in and ask if they or anyone they know needs anything.
I also take that opportunity to remind them of my skills.
“It was great working with you earlier this year, editing your book was a blast. I hope it is doing well! I wanted to reach out and see if you or anyone you know needs any writing or editing assistance. In addition to editing books, I also write blog content for businesses, help authors with the self-publishing process, put together social media or editorial calendars, and can even help create sales scripts and email campaigns. Hope to hear from you soon!“
This reminds them of our work together, lets them know any new skills I’ve picked up, and keeps my name in their mind when they do need anything.
Another time I might reach out to old clients is if I am running some kind of sale. If I’m doing some kind fo “10% off all packages” or something for the new year or other holiday, that is the perfect excuse to shoot an email to an old client and let them know — while also asking for referrals.
The most important thing to remember is that when you have great customer service and were responsive and easy to work with, people are generally quite happy to recommend you to friends and colleagues!
These 3 things are why my entire book of business is from referrals and word of mouth. I rarely need to actually market myself to attract new clients.