Keeping clients engaged is not as hard or as uncomfortable as it may sound. Not even close. If you want to stop working on those "one and done" client projects, then you have to stop being a "one and done" translator or interpreter. Look at every job as an opportunity for an ongoing business relationship. But like all good relationships, you have to cultivate this one.
Here are three reasons you ought to be engaging with your clients between your translation and interpreting jobs.
1. It shows that you care about having a lasting business relationship. After all, these are the people who put food on your table. When you engage with a client around the actual paid portion of work, you show that you're worth more than the line item that shows up on their expense sheet. By providing value in more ways than simply handing over the service you provide as a translator or interpreter, you might even be sealing an impression that keeps you on as a contractor for the long haul. People like to do business with people they like and trust. So... help them like and trust you.
2. It helps you to stay top of mind. Even if your client doesn't have a current project for you, he/she can refer you to others who do. These referrals will help fuel and grow your business, too. Never underestimate the power of referrals. When I took a hard look at how much of my business was based on referrals, I was shocked to see it was well over 50%!
To learn more about using referrals wisely, check out How to Use Referrals and Grow Your Client List.
3. It allows you to stay on top of the new things that are happening with your clients and with which you might be able to help. I can't tell you how many times I've simply sent off an email to a client to ask how things are going for them only to receive a tidbit of news or a mention of something that truly helps me to understand my client better. Perhaps your client has plans to grow in a new market. Do you translate that type of content? If you don't yet, could you? Or maybe they are planning to cut back on their budget. That doesn't mean you should stop engaging with them, but it does mean that you should plan ahead and perhaps start marketing to more clients in a similar industry so that your income doesn't suffer when you start to see the effects of that client's reduced budget. The information that comes from staying engaged with clients is valuable in so many ways. Don't overlook the possibilities!