Attention Freelance Musicians: How to Get Your Clients to Ask You Back

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Your freelance music business will thrive if you can count on repeat business.  If you think you can’t get repeat business, let me show you how.

Suppose you play weddings. These people will only get married once, at least to each other. I’m not suggesting that you hinge your business on a future divorce, but there are likely other celebrations where your music would be ideal. How about their child’s christening party? Or an anniversary celebration? Or a house-warming party?

Suppose your freelance business is mostly freelance orchestra work. Do you know how to stay “top of mind” with the orchestra’s personnel manager?

There are three action areas – before, during and after your gig – that can make the difference between a thriving musician and a starving one:

1. Focus on client service.  In your dealings with your client, let your actions show that you care about their event.  They are spending their money to make their party, wedding or concert perfect for them, and you need to step up into that role.  Show that you take their business seriously by returning phone calls and emails promptly (I like a 24 hour rule), being organized and responsible.  Give them better service than they expect and you will reap the rewards.

2. Remember to thank them.  An unhurried thank-you at the conclusion of the job is essential. Don’t let this be just a quick “hey, thanks” when they hand you the check. Take a few seconds to make a comment on the success of their event. Even better, follow this up with a short email or hand-written thank you note when you get home.  Be sure to include your contact information so they can stay in touch with you. Ask (and be sure to ask before you do this!) if you can add them to your email list. I’ve rarely had anyone say no.  Which brings us to action step 3…

3. Follow up.  If they have given you permission to stay in touch with them via email or mailing list, then be sure you do. Keeping them informed about your musical activities will help keep the conversation going.  But go a step further, and take some initiative.

Perhaps you could send a short congratulatory note as their wedding anniversary approaches, with the suggestion that your music would be a perfect addition to their celebration.  Or if your contact is a wedding consultant, you might mention your latest repertoire additions for the upcoming wedding season.  If it’s an orchestra personnel manager, you could just say how much you enjoyed working for them and say you wanted to remind them you are still in the area.

You do keep a list of past clients, don’t you?

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