How to convince your design clients to hire you again

Any good entrepreneur knows that it’s easier, cheaper, and more effective to sell to existing customers than it is to find and sell to new customers.

A design business is no different.

Many freelance designers waste a lot of time and opportunities in trying to find new clients instead of working on ways to convince their current and past clients to hire them again. Today, I’d like to recommend a few techniques on convincing your design clients to hire you again. If you’ve had success in this area or have more questions when we’re done, go ahead and leave a comment and I’ll respond.

Search for the right clients in the first place

The first key to success in convincing design clients to hire you again is to find the right design clients in the first place. Search out clients who seem to already possess opportunities to hire you again. These kinds of clients include:

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  • Organizations who host annual events, monthly sales, or weekly promotions. These kinds of clients offer the best opportunity for repeat business because they will constantly be needing new marketing material. Even if their event or promotion only happens every summer, you can still count on solid repeat business once a year.
  • Businesses who are just starting out. New businesses can be great repeat customers especially if you help them develop their brand and image. If you do a good job with their first few projects, they’ll call on you each time their new business needs something designed. Beware, though, some new businesses are too poor to hire you multiple times, so this is not always a solid solution.
  • Businesses with an established brand and promotion strategy. Alternatively, established businesses can also offer a great opportunity for repeat business. Why? Because they have cash flow. While it may be harder to get into a company like this (they may have hired a designer like the one mentioned above in point 2) it will certainly pay off in the future with repeat business.

Searching for the right client won’t keep you wondering at the end of each project if you’ll ever see them again. If you take time to find the right kind of client in the first place, it will pay off immensely in the end.

Be the best you can be

Once you’ve found the right kinds of clients, you have to be the right kind of designer for them. Answer their calls, respect their wishes and opinions, hit deadlines and be easy to work with.

No matter how much work a client has in the future, if they didn’t enjoy working with you in the first place, they’ll never hire you again. If you’re wondering what kind of designer you should be, take a look at “10 Attributes of Successful Freelance Designers.”

Constant contact

In order for your clients to hire you again, you need to be in constant contact with them. Send follow up emails to your clients weeks, months and even years after completing a design project with them. Make sure the project you completed for them is going well. Ask if they need anything updated, reprinted, or redesigned. Ask if they have any needs in the near future that you can help with.

If you did a good job the first time around for them, they will welcome this calls or emails and will likely give you more business if their is more business to be had.

Remember, they also want consistency

Lastly, remember that your clients want consistency in their design and their business relationships. It’s also less work for them to hire someone they have worked with in the past. Less hiring process to go through, less W-9s to fill out, less hassle all around.

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Perhaps a surprise to you, most clients actually prefer to hire someone they have worked with in the past over a new hire (assuming you’ve done your part to please them).

How do you convince clients to hire you again?

What secrets and tips do you have that you can share with the rest of us about convincing clients to hire you again. Leave a comment on this post and share your tips with us!

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  1. It’s pretty simple. We hire freelancers all the time. Get the job done on time, communicate, and don’t be a pain in the arse, and we’ll rehire you.

    1. @Websites,

      Like what you said about ‘…don’t be a pain in the arse, and we’ll rehire you…’

      Great point! Haha.

  2. Its a good thing to point out, choosing clients with constant events will incur the need for continuous marketing and support. It’s an ideal method to also build a long-term relationship with them.

  3. After the first project with a new client (often a small one), I send a thank-you email immediately (often on the day their products were delivered – thanks to UPS/FedEx web tracking,) and tell them that I would like to send a small packet of printed samples of my other work. They always say yes.
    Then I immediately send an envelope with 7-10 printed pieces – pieces selected because they are similar to things this that type of business might use.
    This “mini-portfolio” send almost always results in further work.

    1. @Jeff Hillman,
      Wow, Jeff. That’s a great way to follow up with your clients. Thanks for sharing your tips with the rest of us.

  4. Business are business but the “desire to serve” is key to work better. It is an spiritual matter that customers appreciate.

  5. hey! great stuff you post in here.

    I usually give my best on every project, its important when you are a “one man army” to take advantage of the possibility of giving the best of the experiences on support possible.

    At this moment I costumer that wanted a logo came back to ask me for another logo (those are not on my portfolio since was the typical costumer that doesn’t hear more than his own thoughts) but anyway this costumer is happy with the result (and her target audience have had a great response) and another costumer have come back to me 3 times for marketing material.

    The most important part is always being willing to help and also to show off your knowledge it helps attract new leads.

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