We begin this article with a commercial. If you have worked with EMS Communications in the past, and found that our training enhanced your success and was valuable within your organization, we look forward to continuing our work with you. Let’s do business again this year!

There, that wasn’t too hard, was it? In business, is there any easier slam-dunk than to follow up a successful client program or project with a request to do more business in the future?

Remember, we aren’t living in the world of Charles Dickens, where orphans such as Oliver were punished for asking for more. (MORE!!!???) Instead, we live in a business environment where partnerships between companies grow stronger with more familiarity, and where previous experience with a client often puts you in the driver’s seat for repeat business. We’ve seen examples where companies opt for the existing vendor instead of hiring a new one simply because they dread the task of adding someone new into a complicated payables system.

If you’re good at what you do, getting repeat business-or referral business, for that matter-should be as automatic as making the throw to first. So why do so many people forget to follow through?

In the best case scenario, the client approaches YOU and initiates plans for the next project. But if they don’t, there are things you can do instead of sitting in your office and hoping the phone will ring.

Set the idea in advance. As you build a relationship with a new contact, think beyond the initial project when you share your ideas. When asked about your experience, share examples of successful long-term relationships that have included repeat engagements. You can even demonstrate your vision by saying something like “once we’ve completed this project, we’ll regroup with you to look at other ways we can….” (Short circuit to those who dread Q&A: be prepared to hit the ‘experience’ question out of the ballpark-they ALWAYS ask it!)

Value vs. Tasks. Stress the benefits the client gained by working with you, rather than focusing on what you did. If a few weeks or months go by with no contact, look for ways to subtly demonstrate your value, sending articles (with your own insights and a cover note) or other updates to remind them of why they hired you in the first place.

Ask. How else can we say this: they don’t know you want their repeat business unless you tell them you want it. Be direct, and more times than not, they’ll appreciate it.