We recently sealed a deal with Brian Gardner to help us with our new blog design. Brian’s whole approach struck me. He used some really simple, easy ways to attract me as a client. I’m not even sure he realized he was using them, but the tips are worth sharing.
Here are 11 ways to help attract new clients to your business, no matter what it is. They worked for Brian; they’ll work for you, too.
I dropped Brian a quick email asking about his interest in working with us. In less than half an hour, I had an answer back. Score one for Brian; fast communication tells me he has genuine interest in working and cares about his clients.
One of Brian’s first questions was when we’d like to have the project completed – and in the same sentence, he told me when he felt he could fit our project into his schedule. Brian gets two points here – he’s clarifying my needs and also being honest about his own workload.
Samples and a Portfolio
Alright, Brian didn’t offer me samples and portfolio files in communication, but he did have designs up on his website that I could clearly and easily see. When I contacted Brian, I knew already that his talents fit my needs, and I didn’t have to ask. Bonus point.
Friendliness and Personality
I like being me. I made a quip in one of my emails about the ball being in Brian’s court. The following emails had me and Brian playing out a virtual game of basketball while discussing the finer points of price and job scope. That was pretty cool – being professional doesn’t mean being stiff, and this was a big clincher for me right here. We hadn’t even settled on rates, yet. Four points for Brian.
Willingness to Negotiate
I worked five years in a corporate Purchasing department. I know that everything is negotiable and that the first price is never the final price. (Bonus tip: If your first price is your final price, you need to rethink your pricing strategy.) I also know that if you never ask, you never receive. Brian quoted a rate and we bargained a bit to something that suited us both. Three points on this one.
Brian didn’t offer me a low price. He knows what he can do takes skills and knowledge as well as some talent. He knows his level of skill, too. He offered a rate that matched accordingly. Had he offered me dirt-cheap prices from the start, I would have automatically assumed that his skills aren’t that good. Perception is everything. Two points here.
I’m not afraid of saying we have budgets to follow; it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if you run a business, you should have budgets for each project in place to control expenses and costs. Brian understood that and offered a tip that would help keep our costs lower. Point.
Brian sells his own blog templates on his site. He knew that one design interested us the most. However, he clearly mentioned that we should feel free to choose any design from anywhere that serves our purposes best. He’d work with our choice and never pushed us to buy one of his designs to gain an extra sale. The result? We’re twice as likely to work with one of his designs. Point.
Despite the fact we were shooting hoops and dribbling basketballs via email, one phrase Brian wrote caught my eye. “Team Chartrand/Gardner.” It was a joke, it was relevant to the fun we were having, but it also told me something about Brian. He doesn’t work *for* clients. He works *with* clients. That’s important to me and I value the concept. An individual is about me, myself and I. A team is about working together to accomplish a common goal to the best of the combined abilities of each teammate. Four points.
I’m a writer. I love emails and IMs that have proper punctuation, capital letters in the right place and grammar that speaks of someone who understands communication is vital to business success. Brian not only designs well, he writes well with clear, succinct language usage. Two points.
One of the reasons I leaned towards asking Brian to work on our project was that I’d seen his name here and there in the virtual world. John Chow featured Brian’s latest design release, too, and Brian Clark from Copyblogger singled out Brian publicly to write a blog post. For all I know, maybe Brian and Brian go bar-hopping together on weekends and maybe Brian paid John Chow a million to plug his work. But that’s completely besides the point. The point is that the power of association attracted me as a client. From a client’s perspective, a nod from the Big Boys implies Mr. Gardner isn’t just a Joe Blow. (To Brian’s credit, he humbly admitted that he wasn’t anyone famous.) Three points here, because it sure isn’t easy to be noticed on the ‘net.
We’re up to 24 points (I don’t like odd numbers) and that’s damned good enough for me.
Before I contacted Brian, all I had to go on was a few samples, a couple of nods in his direction, and that’s about it. His approach and attitude clinched the deal for me. There’s a lot to be learned from that.