It’s so much easier than starting from scratch. That’s because the relationship is already there. Of course the foundation of any great relationship is good communications. And to maintain a great working relationship even when you’re not working together.
I have been very lucky in my business. Almost every single client I ever had (I’ve been in business for 16 years) I’m still in touch with. When they go on to new opportunities I’m usually the first person they contact to see if we can work together. When I started a new company a few years back, I reached out to some of them to be on my Advisory Board. The nice thing about these relationships is that I’m always thinking about my clients and how I can help them and likewise they are looking out for me. This is actually true with colleagues and business associates in my network as well.
Heather Townsend put out a post listing 17 ways to get more referrals from existing clients. It’s useful. Here’s an 18th – stay in touch with my clients over the years even when your not working with them. I take some clients to lunch when they’re in town, and find ways to help them. Even if we don’t work together for long periods of time, I stay in touch. So when they do have a referral, I’m top of mind.