2 Simple ways to keep your best clients for life

Here at Millo we talk a lot about clients:

  • How to find new clients
  • How to find the right clients for your business
  • How to keep your best clients for life

Today I’d like to talk about the last one.

Because in my experience, I’ve discovered there’s only 2 ways to keep a client for life (everything else just falls under one of these 2 methods.)

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The coolest part is, you only have to nail one of them (but if you can do both, you’re really set!).

And your competition is powerless. They can’t do anything to steal your clients away from you, even if they offer better pricing or a faster turnaround.

So what are these magic methods?

1) Be the very best

If you’re absolutely top-notch, the clients that value your second-to-none craftsmanship will be clients for life.

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They just won’t settle for anything less.

This is why people happily wait for a table at an amazing restaurant instead of choosing the average one down the street with immediate seating.

When you’re that damn good, clients seek you out. They know the work they’ll get will be stellar, and they’re willing to shell out good money (and put up with you even if your customer service skills are lacking) for the end result.

(Of course, that means you have to be out-of-this-world amazing, which will mean different things to different clients. The key is to figure out how to measure how stellar you are in a way you can prove…and market.)

2) Provide the very best experience

The other way to keep clients for life is to provide the most amazing, hassle-free, painless experience they’ve ever had.

Case in point: Casa Bonita (made famous by South Park) is a real Mexican restaurant in Denver. And the food is terrible. But on Friday night, the wait is over an hour long of shuffling through an amusement-park-type back-and-forth line because we’re all there for the experience.

Now I’m not advocating selling a sub-par product, but the point is that you don’t have to be the very best to keep clients for life. If you’re mediocre, or above-average, or even really good but not the best of the best, you can still cull a fiercely loyal clientele base.

Just have excellent customer service and provide the most wonderful experience your clients have ever had.

Is it really that simple?

Yep! (With one caveat.)

Don’t screw up.

Because that’s the only way your competition is going to have a chance at stealing your business – by you not living up to your reputation / marketing promises.

(Easier said that done, I know.)

Which one are you?

Or which one do you most aspire to be? Leave me a note in the comments and let me know! I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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  1. Excellent points. It’s that simple.

    April, are you based in Denver or have you just visited our beautiful city for the fine Mexican food options. (I’m not talking about the food at Casa Bonita obviously)

    1. Hey James,

      Thank you!!

      I live just outside Fort Collins!

      To be honest, I really love Chubby’s – it’s a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s got great food!

      Where else should I go for amazing Mexican that’s more sit-down?

  2. Great article. I agree it´s much easier to try and keep existing clients than to try and get new ones.

    I run a small design firm, and one other simple way to keep clients is to create an online portal for all the work we have create for them. It gives them super easy access to all their logo files, stock images, ads (as pdf files) and more.
    We use filecamp.com for this and it allows to brand these customer portals with our clients logo and colors … hm … perhaps difficult to explain … but our clients loves it and are now much more loyal to us.

    … and of course we are also the best and provide our clients with the best experience 😉

  3. I used to wait tables back in the day and these two things are what the owner kept drilling in our head over and over again. It’s the little things that make the customer/client have a great experience. If they do, indeed, have a great experience, they’ll most likely be back. They might even refer their friends. This article is a great reminder of the parallels in all industries. Great tips!

  4. YES! I’ve had this client, the kind of clients that doesn’t argue on price, all I had to do is, just do my best, deliver on time, be there whenever he asks for something, be friendly, and professional, that’s all it takes.

  5. We have a UPOD policy of Under Promising, Over Delivering which has really helped us to keep a pool of repeat clients.

  6. Awesome article, I love the two basic options, be the best or be unique…

    Personally, Ive always thought you have to give 150% to your client, boss, creative team etc…

    That’s the best way you keep them happy and why they’ll recommend you with colleagues or help you out later on the way.

  7. Especially for freelancers just starting out, it’s important to offer an amazing experience. It’s virtually impossible to be the best designer out there if you don’t have much prior experience, but everyone from novice to pro has the ability to provide excellent customer service.

    Start by focusing on providing the best experience, and as long as your design skills are constantly improving, you’ll be keeping clients for life!

  8. Stand behind your promises and over deliver it, your clients will be grateful and yours for life. If they had an amazing 1st experience, and you continue to do it again then there is no reason to look for another designer. And yea, all of them are pretty much very busy people and they don’t even have time to look for another designer.

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