Losing clients can be a nightmare. Not only is a source of money gone, and now you have to do the new work of finding and securing a replacement client.

It’s much easier to retain a client than it is to find a new one. If you find yourself losing clients, it’s time to take a step back and look at your systems and your business. What are you doing that is valuable for your clients, and what are you doing that is turning them off?

Why You’re Losing Clients

There are a million reasons that a client may choose to leave. But there are some common reasons that most of us will bump up into eventually. Those are:

-downsizing: the client no longer has the department or need that you fill

-budget issues: the client can no longer afford you.

-management change: the person who hired you is gone, and the new replacement doesn’t see your value.

-sloppy work: you turn in work late, are rude, or don’t do your work well.

You’ll notice that some of these are directly in your hands and some are not. Let’s talk about what you can do to keep your current clients happy for the very long term.

How to Keep Clients

When it comes to downsizing, your client may or may not share the complete story with you. You might not know the details, but you can make yourself more attractive to your client to survive the downsizing. You can offer a discount rate for a set amount of time, or showcase other skills you have that they haven’t been taking advantage of. If you can do marketing and graphic design, maybe you’ll end up with more work than before as they consolidate their company.

For budget issues, you need to prove that you are worth keeping around when everything is up for review. To do this, show your client the value that you’ve already provided them. Follow that up with how much more you can give. I’m not saying to take a huge rate cut and start providing things for free. But make it very clear to your client that you can help them through these budget issues by helping them generate more income.

Management changes can come at any time. Here, it is better to be kind than it is to be right, or to have your ego massaged. Introduce yourself to the new manager and offer them a ‘housewarming gift’ of some sort. Send over your portfolio so they don’t have to ask, or ask them what you can do to help make the transition easier for them.

Sloppy work should never been an issue, but we live in an imperfect world. If you miss a deadline, or forget to use spell check, or get snarky in an email, it’s time to apologize and offer an added bonus. Be polite, be kind, and offer up an apology- not an excuse.

To keep your clients happy, you need to be the best fit for them. Do that by showing your value, staying positive and polite, and you’ll stop losing clients.

Kara Perez is the founder of Bravely, a company that connects women and money. She freelances in the areas of personal finance and travel, and she eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

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