Choosing your Clients: Because Relationships Matter

I have a consulting firm. It does great work. It’s a fun place to work. Growth, revenue, and new business wins are nothing more than a by-product of those two facts. Our approach to new business might seem a bit unconventional, but my team has asked me to share it anyway.

Don’t do it for the money.
I don’t know of a single creative person I respect who gets out of bed every morning to earn a paycheck. When things get tough, and that is the default mode in this business, particularly at this time, “the money” isn’t going to pull you through. Better to make a reasonable fee working on something you genuinely have passion for than to make tons on something you wouldn’t shed a tear over if it fell off the planet.

Don’t do it for the creative opportunity, either.
Sounds blasphemous coming from the owner of a creative firm, I know.

We’ve all done it, chasing work simply because it’s a “creative opportunity” is dangerous business. Those magic quoted words have a way of rendering all other ills invisible.  Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist 

An exciting product and an innovative brand cannot begin to compensate for a passionless, clueless or flat-out lazy marketer.

Do it for the people.
The brand, category and product do not matter. The people across the table do. We need to feel a client’s passion and energy. We know that after they finish the meeting with us, they still have to run through the halls of their headquarters championing the work and fighting off critics. We cannot succeed without that ingredient. When deadlines feel overwhelming and production falls short of expectations, it helps to remember you are doing this because you believe in and care about the people you’re working for.

Chemistry and Client Vetting
Potential clients stroll into our offices for chemistry checks thinking they are doing all the checking. On the other side of the table, we are asking ourselves, Do we like these people enough to go into battle for them. Do we think their business model is sustainable? Have they made other changes in the organization necessary for success? Are they at all in denial? Do they understand what marketing can and cannot do? Is there going to be a key decision maker who is not present? The result is having the option to choose your clients.

Total Honesty.
Be so honest about their business, their thinking, and their assumptions that you put them back on their heels. A good client will appreciate the challenge providing it’s done in a thoughtful, earnest way. With a potentially awesome client, you will work toward a better solution quicker. A bad one will slip into inauthentic behaviors and stick their fingers back in their ears. This a critical juncture for choosing quality clients. Pay attention.

One Last Thing.

There is no substitute for brilliant strategic insights and result driven creative ideas. However, that is the easy part. Identifying people who will understand and appreciate it all is the challenge.  Connie Amidei, Chief Digital Strategist

Connie has served as lead consultant and online strategist for over 450 interactive web development projects over the last 9 years, and continues to push the envelope with innovative ways to brand, market and promote organizations online.

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