By Andrew Neitlich

Out of site, out of mind

By Andrew Neitlich

Here is a reminder about why it is so important to stay in touch with past clients.

My sister emailed me this morning. A friend of her needs a certain type of highly specialized professional. My sister recalls that I know someone who is good at this profession, because she met him two years ago when I used his services. She wanted his contact information.

Sure enough, I can’t find it. This professional has not stayed in touch with me, and I lost his initial contact information. So now he loses a valuable referral from someone ready to hire him right away.

Please stay in touch with past clients. It is an easy way to pick up occasional work.

All this guy had to do was send an occasional holiday card or simple newsletter with his card in it.

This kind of basic stuff kills me.

  • SJH

    I don’t agree with you. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the guy you worked with because you lost his contact details.

    Granted, staying in touch with clients is a professional approach to maintaining good relations with them and perhaps picking up the odd bit of work, but I don’t think he is entirely at fault here.


  • leelee39

    “I don’t agree with you. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the guy you worked with because you lost his contact details.”

    The point is, the one that is losing out on the work is the one that should’ve been keeping past clients updated. Andrew hasn’t lost a thing, but the “professional” most certainly has.

  • I started the holiday card thing after reading a few post here and Brendon’s stuff. It actually works very well from what I can say first hand. Just enough to remind them about you, and it’s fairly cheap.

  • Don’t you have a documentation duty in the US, wich enforces you to keep a copy of all your work contracts for X years?

  • webnology

    Andrew wants to make a point here, and has covered it up in a story. Learn from the concept. He agrees… ‘I lost his initial info…’ Still it’s good stuff to learn from.


  • RSymonds

    I don’t agree with you. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the guy you worked with because you lost his contact details.

    The point has nothing to do with blame. The point is that doing basic, simple, inexpensive things like keeping in touch with your past clients–even informally–can result in business. Therefore, keeping in touch should be a fundamental business habit.

  • aneitlich


    just to clarify, this was a different type of professional, and we needed no contract.


  • Surprising how many somewhat “peeved in tone” responses this generated. If one wants to spend time arguing about blame or nit-picking legalities, fine, but the thrust of Andrew’s writing is business building.

    Take the item for what it is, a real story about how people lose business needlessly. I’ve hurt myself significantly several times in the past year by letting a former client drift … I’m currently making corrections to this bad habit.

    Also, as another object lesson … two years ago I contracted and paid for a guy’s work in designing me a logo. I was happy, he was happy (although he complained to me how slow his web and graphics design work was…).

    Well I _haven’t_ lost his contact info … but in these past two years he’s never even said hello .. so when I next want some more graphic design or web work done, do you think he’ll be my first choice? Frankly I like doing business with people who stay in touch. Don’t make former clients and potential clients be responsible for your contact info .. unless you have more work than you can handle…

  • EagleEyesDesign

    Been meaning to THANK YOU for the Holiday card reminder two Decembers ago. My clients have been coming back for more business than I could have imagined AND they thank me for the card each time. I hand write the cards, mention info that is unique to them, such as gardening, so they know I remember who they really are. Handwriting is hard for my hands, (too much time spent typing), and it takes a day to complete a handful of cards. I get really nice boutique hand-made cards. Also thank you cards after a huge project is completed. But the results are worth the time.

    By all means, if anyone doesn’t like keeping in touch, don’t force yourself. That’s what helps me stand out in the crowd!

    – Christina

  • dev_cw

    I could’t agree more. However I am terrible at keeping up relations. Since I hate to be “bothered” with non-essencials I assume that my clients hate it as much as me. On the flip side I have a few clients that send ME cards and I am not only very happy to receive them but supprised that they remembered…and I definatly remember them.

    Lesson learned, I will start sending cards…don’t want to be forgotten.

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