In the beginning of setting up a creative business, quantity is pretty tempting. Quantity as in more clients and more output. Because that can only lead to more money and more success, right? Not necessarily.
Chasing every lead you find on Internet job boards, killing yourself to out-quote a competitor, caving to a prospective client’s limited budget—all of these things can absolutely do more harm than good. It means you’ll get burnt out, produce a crappier product, and actually have less profit to show from the whole ordeal. The bottom line: Learn to say no to people who aren’t willing to pay for the quality service or product you provide.
But don’t stop there. While saying no will save you time and trouble, it won’t immediately up your profit margin. After all, you do still have to fill the now-empty slots once taken by tempestuous, cheap clients. Give the following steps a try:
- Research and isolate both your “dream clients” and, perhaps more reasonably, your ideal market.
- Write down, in detail, what these potential clients need that you can provide
- Write down, in detail, what about these clients/markets best suits your own goals
- Separate your markets into segments based on commonalities, such as age, gender, geography, etc.
- Determine the type of media each segment is most tuned into. For example, the 18-25 year-old segment is probably more involved in social networking than the 60-70 crowd, who might prefer in person meetings
- Build a marketing strategy specifically tailored to each market segment. This may include setting up profiles on major social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter; creating an interactive portfolio; attending local events where you can shake hands with folks; or sending press releases and pitching stories to local news media.
- Be persistent but purposeful. Target all of your marketing efforts toward your dream and ideal markets. If you’re rejected, ask politely if they could point you toward a colleague or business that is better suited.
- When you establish contact with these prospects, remember that they are the ones who will be willing to pay for quality services—so don’t sell them short!
- And always be polite and professional. “No”, doesn’t really mean “no”. It means, “not yet — looking to be impressed further.”
- Finally, treat the clients you land like gold. Their word-of-mouth recommendations to friends and colleagues will mean more than any amount of brilliant and strategic marketing!