“In the world of graphic design, what is the best way to find good clients? “
Shawn O‘Mara | ocreations | ocreations.com
I guess the BIG QUESTION is: What is a good client? I have several good clients now and have had several good clients in the past. The main question is how do you personally define a good client?
- A client who pays really, really well?
- A client who never makes revisions?
- A client who loves everything you design?
- A client who smells good?
- A client who pays on time?
- A client who lets you do the design?
- A client who takes risks on creative concepts?
- A client who trusts you?
- A client who calls and thanks you for a job well done?
- A client who refers you to others?
I think the best answer to this question is J. (A client who refers you to others?)
All of the answers above are good client attributes in one way or another. However, I honestly feel that if a client takes the time to put their own reputation on the line to refer you to others, they are an EXCELLENT client! If this is true, then I think the best way to find good clients is to take care of your existing clients and use your inner circle to help grow your outer circle of clients.
Networking and getting your design in front of others is essential. You need to let people know what you do and remind them often. It does not matter if you are a freelance designer or a huge agency, it all works the same. You need to work hard to build a base of good clients and then work from the inside out. Treat your good clients well and they will instantly become your best sales team.
I also believe that you need to find clients who fit you or your studio. Saying “yes” to any project that comes your way may be a big mistake in the end. Good news travels fast, bad news (or news of a bad job) travels even faster. If you are not the right person or place to do the job, just say no or pass them on. This will gain the respect of the client and you may still get a referral out of them for someone else who is a good fit.
In these challenging times with budgets being cut and companies closing, it is critical that you evaluate your prices and customer service. You need to be sure that they are both fair and on target. It is better to make money year-round than hit them over the head on a single job and risk the loss of the repeat business.
We are problem solvers. Look at different industries, assess your strengths and ask yourself “What companies could I really help to grow their business over the next year?” Once you figure that out, set forth to pitch them on new business.
At ocreations we always look for clients who are passionate about their business and truly want it to grow. We look for clients who are honest and fair. We look for clients who like to laugh and value good creative. We look for clients who think differently and realize that people are people and life is what you make of it.
I guess to sum this up…make lots of friends, network, build a few good clients, build trust and then let your clients and the brand you established start finding you more GOOD CLIENTS.
“If this does not work, put on a really sad face and design a tattered sign reading: WILL DESIGN FOR FOOD and hope for the best.”
Good luck in your client search!