Often, I get asked how to start building professional relationships with your ideal design clients. Let me share you a story about a motion designer that I’ve been recently working with. He didn’t know exactly which direction to go with his skill set. With this blog I’ll share which steps I recommended him to take.
Define your key values and ideal client
At first, we started out analyzing his past client relationships to look for his key values. Then, we defined a persona profile about his ideal client. With this information he did a market research to look for companies that fit his key values and ideal client profile. The plan of approach means engaging with these ideal clients:
Build your professional network
When you build your professional network, start slowly, it’s like dating. Start to slowly get to know each other. Make sure the person knows you. Talk about shared interests (like design), so that the person likes you. Later on, in the professional relationship, talk about your expertise. Try to understand the situation of your ideal client better in order to provide some advice or recommendations.
Design is not about you
In the contact with your potential client you can apply the 3 levels of engagement: (1) knowing, (2) liking and (3) trusting. You slowly build up these levels by engaging with your ideal design client. Do not start selling from the beginning. Don’t’ feel that you need to sell. In your messages, there should be more ‘you’ instead of ‘I’. Make sure that you include an easy-to-say-yes-to question for the first time you reach out.
Call people instead of sending emails
This is one of my favorite tips to give when it comes to professional networking. Try calling people instead of sending them an email. Because people get many emails daily, you can stand out if you do it a little bit different. Plus, you have direct interaction in a phone conversation!