When you start out in business you’ll take any work which comes along; and, in a way, perhaps you should. Perhaps you should because experience of a wide variety of clients (good & bad) is a wind tunnel which shapes your market positioning going forward; this is a polite way of saying that you will work with some complete idiots; it will be a draining experience; you will need to learn from it.
Client’s love to adopt the mind set that they are choosing a supplier. However, what they don’t know is that you are (or should be) choosing them as well.
Michael Port refers to this as the Red Velvet Rope Policy – the criteria potential new clients need to fit before which you’ll consider doing business with them. Sound’s like a luxury? If you’ve been in business for a while you’ll know that it is not a luxury; bad clients make your life a misery whilst good clients are a joy to be around – which would you prefer?
When I meet a potential new client for the first time I like to see if I’m offered a cup of tea within the first couple of minutes; am I there as a welcome guest? an expert to whom they would like to do business? Or am I an annoying distraction from their busy workload? Am I worth a cup of tea?
I’m not saying it’s a deal clincher…but it definitely counts.
What do you do?
Recently I lost a pitch for a web design project that I really wanted to work on. A lovely client with a great product. No shame there though as these things happen – life doesn’t always go according to plan. The issue though was more about how I lost it…
I’m very pleased to announce the launch of a new website so, like a proud father, let me stand back and show off the new online presence for Jon Bockelmann-Evans. Jon is a registered psychotherapist, a chartered physiotherapist and an all round healthcare expert; one of his specialisms is dealing with stress in the workplace. He is also a fantastic presenter and gives inspring talks at businesses, schools and other organisations.
In the classic book Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg, the story tells us that the Greenlandic Inuit have something like 27 words for snow; covering all the different types which occur in certain conditions.. Now this may or may not be an urban myth but it is certainly true that when armed with the correct knowledge, a seemingly featureless situation can be read in countless ways and fantastic & intricate detail can be revealed, which was otherwise hidden.
The other day I was doing some one to one coaching with Harry Holland and we stumbled across something which is perfect evidence of something that I’ve been trying to preach for a while; Internet Strategy. When people ask what I do, I have been known to say “Internet Strategist*” as I’m trying to convey that this aint just about websites; this is about joined up thinking across all of your online presence.
A few weeks ago I blogged about speculative work. To re-cap, a client wanted to work with myself & Russell Britton but they needed a website mockup first. I don’t normally do initial mockups and I certainly not for free (for more details on the reasons why, check out that previous article). Not allowing your process to be changed (or, at least, bent totally out of shape) is key for me. By defining a consistent process, I’ve been able to continually help clients; and I believe it’s that process which clients are ultimately buying into.
I’ve been reading Mike Monteiro‘s excellent book “Design is a Job” and it got me thinking. Mike and his partner run Mule, a very successful design studio in the US, but this success did not happen over night; they’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way (as I have done!), many of these mistakes involve clients & money.
In a previous post I’ve talked about the type of projects & work that my company is looking for – I find it useful to state this as, even though Jojet has been running over 10 years, I still find that some people don’t know what I do. Anyway, what I thought I’d focus on in this post are the traits of the clients I love to work with.
Harry Holland, “Skyfly”, Oil on canvas, 2008, 92x65cm
One of the things I always try and explain to people is that social media is very much about the long game. This isn’t just a matter of setting up a Facebook page and then you’ll sell 500% more Whamo bars or whatever. This is a much more softly, softly approach.