Maintaining Long-Term Client Relationships

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When it comes to clients, it is better to pursue relationships instead of projects. We’ll build our businesses more successfully via relationships and connections, not by focusing on getting projects. This is a point of differentiation from the dollar-store design projects that fiver.com and logo garden are  known for, and the truly professional designer.

Many of our clients will only be one-timers. When the project is completed, they have what they asked you for and need nothing else. It’s done.

But other clients will need design on an ongoing basis or from time to time. For clients to keep working with us over the long term, certainly we need to be able to serve their needs. This means that our capabilities must be relevant and current. Our work must be of high quality and effective in the marketplace. But there’s a greater reason.

There is a myriad of talent and technical skill available to clients. They have a lot of options to choose from. Why work with one designer over another? Usually it’s because of relationship.

The most important aspect for retaining clients is the relationships we build with them. Clients really do prefer to work with people they can trust and enjoy working with. They want to know that we understand what they’re trying to accomplish, and why, and are willing to invest in helping them get to their goals. They want to be assured that we are on board with them, not just coming alongside.

Design is not a commodity or product. It’s a service profession. We’re here to make our clients look good and increase their perceived value to their customers. Given all the talent, skill and experience we offer them, it’s how we handle their projects and how we treat them that makes them want to continue to work with us, and recommend us to their colleagues.

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.

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