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Is your diary looking a bit empty? Do you want to generate more training bookings ASAP but you’re worried it’s going to take time to find new clients? Would you like to increase your earnings but can’t see the best route to greater profitability?
One of the most common mistakes that businesses of any kind make is to channel all their energies into finding new clients. In fact, your previous and existing clients could be your biggest source of (currently untapped) income.
There are so many business coaching messages online aimed at helping small business owners find new clients and, certainly, you shouldn’t overlook this aspect of your business but, if you already have an established client base, it’s important to spend time thinking about how you can nurture your existing relationships and encourage repeat bookings.
Warm leads are easier to sell to
Existing clients are what marketers would define as ‘warm leads’, i.e. individuals or businesses who have already expressed an interest in your business or used your services in the past, understand the benefits of buying from you and have a relationship with you. You have their contact details and a reason to contact them, if only to touch base. It’s far easier to sell to a warm lead than to a cold one, i.e. someone who has never come into contact with your business before.
It also costs a lot less to keep an existing client than to find a new one.
It’s a good idea to prioritise some time to think about how you can add value for your existing clients, as well as creating genuine reasons to stay in touch. You might want to offer a monthly newsletter featuring articles, hints and tips that would appeal to your clients; perhaps you could create a training programme that’s a level up from previous training you’ve delivered or build a library of online resources that would help your existing clients. Different ideas would work for different trainers and training clients – why not ask your existing clients what you could do for them to add value?
In my experience, looking after your existing clients creates a positive cycle for your business and theirs. The more you get to know a client, the easier it is to look at ways your training company can support them. You might spot gaps in their knowledge or training provision that you can fill. In turn, this will help your clients’ businesses to thrive, become more profitable, expand into new areas, and potentially increase their training budget.
Remind existing clients of the results you generate
A helpful exercise is to look at your existing clients and identify where your training delivered results. Did staff become more productive? Did attendance improve? What feedback did you get after the last training programme you delivered? It’s fine to contact your existing clients and tell them that you’re following up on your training to see what impact it has made. If you can show that you have already made a difference to their business in the past, it’s far easier to create a compelling argument for why they should book you for training again.
Ultimately, prioritising your existing clients could save you a lot of time, money and energy. If you’re offering a new training service, tell your existing clients about it first. If you’re planning on offer a discount on group bookings, give your existing clients first refusal. You may find your diary quickly fills up.
A smaller number of repeat clients who are strong brand advocates will be far more profitable than a high volume and quick turnover of clients and, if you develop a reputation for nurturing strong relationships with your existing clients, it’s likely to spread in the form of word of mouth recommendations.
What percentage of your work comes from existing clients? When was the last time you followed up with a client to see what had happened in the company as a result of training you delivered? Why not drop five existing clients a quick email today to say hello and touch base?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you get on in the Comments section below.