A surefire way to build your business.
These are the things that have resulted in
lifelong relationships that led to a successful,
enjoyable, profitable marketing business.
They’ll help build any type of business that
has customers or clients.
Trust is at the basis of every good relationship, and good relationships are what
will build your business (not to mention make your life better). You can’t have
trust when there is any lying involved. I can’t remember every lying to a client or
colleague. One lie can screw up everything. It’s never worth it. Clients can count
on me to tell them what I’m thinking.
be open-minded and collaborative
I have smart, imaginative, clients who deeply understand what I do and how they
can help me do it. I use that to great advantage by sharing my process with them,
respecting their insights, welcoming their thoughts, and standing up for the right
position no matter what. One of my most profitable and useful services came
from an interaction with a client.
I never had an agenda. I didn’t consciously set out to build a business.
I just took it one project at a time, developed a reputation, and followed the
success. I think better things happen when you’re focused on doing a great
job at that moment than when you’re thinking about where it will get you.
choose your clients
as carefully as they choose you
Work with people you like and respect. It usually goes both ways. And for me
at least, I can’t do great work for dumb clients. I think clients get the work they
deserve. I saw that when I was at agencies and some teams would do great
work for one client and lousy work for another. There really weren’t good teams,
just good clients. I decided to work only for them in order to develop a reputation
for doing outstanding work.
I can keep a secret and never take part in the internal politics of companies.
That makes me a valuable outsider. Sometimes people can’t believe what I
didn’t tell anyone. Why would I? I got a very big account when someone who
told me something in confidence, which I respected over the years, was promoted.
I also make a mental note when people tell me secrets. I know there’s a limit to
how much I can rely on that person. Being trustworthy is invaluable.
Be clear about what you will, and won’t deliver, and for how much. Never surprise
anyone (except in a good way). Live up to your word always. If anything changes,
which does happen, let your client know immediately what happened and why
and how it will affect what they were expecting i.e. more time, more money….
Be reliable. If you get the right information up front, you should be able to
come in with the work you promised, and more. Get to where your client
knows you’ll come through. Today, I’d say I worry more about the outcome
of projects than my clients do. They remind me that it will be great and
that it always is.
don’t be greedy
While I certainly charge appropriate fees and value our worth, I’m never greedy.
When there’s a problem in arriving at a number for a job, I’ve found that it’s
usually a result of some communication misunderstanding, generally about the
scope of the project. Once the scope is properly defined, there’s always a fair
price both for me and for the client. Never let price be the problem if you believe
that your clients are fair and properly value your services. With the right client,
you can work anything out.
burn no bridges
I’ve quit good jobs with good bosses for good reasons. I’ve fired good people
who were just wrong for the job. Bottom line, things don’t always work out.
But that’s no reason not to stay connected with people you like and respect
and vice versa. If unpleasant things happen in the best possible way, the
event isn’t important enough to sabotage the underlying good will built
by years of good experiences.
relationships are everything
I could honestly say I still have my first client (which is an amazing thing since
advertising is a fickle industry). The client(s) are in different places, but we’re
still connected. It was their career paths that built my business. Not that is was a
slam dunk, ever. I always had to re-present my abilities to their new management,
but they opened the door. I also stay in touch with former employees and most
of the people I’ve worked with at agencies along the way. Truly, this is the most
satisfying part of my business and my life.