Episode Sponsor: StickerMule
How often do you follow up with dormant clients? I’m not talking dormant like they haven’t replied to an email in a few days. However, following up is always a good idea when you don’t receive an expected reply.
I’m talking about following up with dormant clients months or even years after you’ve completed whatever project you did for them.
In episode 72 of Resourceful Designer, I discussed getting new work from existing clients. It’s proven that getting new work from existing clients is much easier than landing new clients. After all, you don’t have to worry about the awkward introductory phase since you already know each other. You have a proven track record, so you and your client know what to expect.
And yet, even though it’s much easier to get new work from existing clients. Many designers don’t actively seek out that work.
Why is that? You may be thinking to yourself. “I don’t want to bother them. The clients know me. If they have more work for me, they’ll contact me.” But that’s not always the case.
I’m not saying they won’t contact you when they have more work. They probably will. The problem is clients don’t always realize they have work for you.
What? What are you talking about, Mark? No, it’s true. It’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Your dormant client isn’t thinking about you; therefore, they aren’t thinking of the work they could be sending you.
I want to run an experiment with you right now.
Last week I went to the dentist for a routine checkup. I’m happy to say they found nothing wrong with my teeth. I take dental hygiene seriously, so I scheduled a new appointment for a cleaning in 9 months.
Now, let me ask you this. Did you think about your dentist and your next appointment? Chances are you did. Maybe you thought about an upcoming appointment. Or perhaps it made you think you should make an appointment if you don’t already have one. Regardless, I’m pretty sure, even if only briefly, you thought about your teeth.
Why is that? It’s because of triggers.
Triggers, the verb, not the thing you squeeze to fire a gun, are something that can connect one event to another. The mention of my dental appointment triggered your thoughts about your dental hygiene.
If I say I recently changed the tires on my car because they had worn-out threads. You probably just started wondering about the tires on your vehicle.
If I say, I have no idea what I’m having for dinner tonight. Now you’re probably thinking about your next meal.
All of these are because of triggers. Our day is full of them. Most of the time, you don’t even realize they’re there. But triggers influence you in many ways. Triggers are often the correlation between one thing and another.
That brings me back to following up with dormant clients. Remember when I said the problem is clients don’t always realize they have work for you? It’s because they don’t have anything with which to correlate that work. And that’s very easy to fix.
Just like me mentioning my dentist made you think of your dentist. Reconnecting with a client can trigger them to find new work for you.
Remember, “out of sight, out of mind?” When the client isn’t thinking of you, they’re not thinking of projects you can do for them. The solution is to get them to think of you. You can do that by following up.
Resourceful Designer Community members are beta testing a weekly accountability group where we share long-term and short-term goals. We meet once per week for 10-15 minutes. Each person shares one thing they want to accomplish before our next meeting.
This goal could be small, like adding a new case study to their website, creating social media posts, or getting organized for a presentation.
The object is to share something to which you want to be held accountable. Because the following week, you have to share whether or not you completed that goal.
My goal two weeks ago was to reach out and reconnect with four dormant clients. I ended up emailing six long-standing clients. Their dormancy ranged from six months to a couple of years since the last project I did for them.
When I sent my email, I didn’t ask them if they had any work for me. Instead, I asked them how they were doing, and in a couple of cases, I wondered if they were happy with the
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