Do you have a wish-list of dream clients?
As a freelance web developer, graphic designer and digital marketing consultant my wish-list includes people who are pursuing their purpose, building communities, and helping people make an impact in the world. In short, they’re the people I want to be when I grow up.
Now, let’s get back to your list. How many of your dream clients have you approached about working together?
That list is a little shorter, right?
Lack of confidence about the value we offer, coupled with excuses about not knowing how to find or connect with our wish-list clients can threaten to keep us small. But the more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes to get your ideas out there, and the more positive results you’ll start to see.
Are you ready to up your game, collaborate with the best of them and make the impact you were born to make?
Read on for 5 ways you can dramatically increase your chances of successfully pitching an idea to your dream client.
Write your list of dream clients
Who would you LOVE to work with? Is it a brand, an organization, an agency? Write them all down.
Next, get clear on who your target client would be within that organization. Are they marketing directors, producers, creative directors, art buyers? Do you have a name? An email address? Someone in common who might introduce you? Write it all down.
Do you know what their specific needs or challenges are? Who else serves them, and how are you different?
Getting clear on the types of people they like to work with will help you give your own pitch context.
Do your homework
What do your ideal clients feel passionate about? What is their mission? How are they making that happen? What challenges do they face? This isn’t always easy to nail down, so you’ll have to do a little sleuthing. Search for articles, talks, panels your ideal clients have been on for clues. Do you know anyone who’s worked with them and might be willing to share some insights? This step is critical to ensuring your pitch is on-target, so do as much as you can.
Hang out where they hang out
Creatives tend to hang out with other creatives, and while this is great for meeting and building relationships with potential collaborators, it’s not great for meeting ideal clients. You need to be hanging out where your ideal clients are. Not sure? Here are few places to start looking:
• Panels they are participating in
• Conferences or trade shows they attend or speak at
• Professional associations e.g. AIGA
• Industry events e.g. Fashion week
Note: If you do attend a panel or talk featuring your ideal client, make sure you always have a question ready should you get a chance to ask it.
Come up with an idea to pitch
(Hint: it should speak to your dream client’s needs, not your own!)
OK, here’s where your creativity and smarts come in. What do you have to offer your dream client that resonates with their interests and needs? What are the areas you need to shore up? For example, I recently pitched an idea to one of my dream clients, but I had to put it through a couple of iterations, AND bring in a collaborator to turn it into something I thought would be of interest to him. It worked, but only because I kept him at the center and worked my idea and solution around his needs. Run your idea by a few people you trust and put it through the wringer a couple of times to see if it holds up. Tweak as necessary and then you’re ready for the last step.
Don’t overthink this part. Put together an easy breezy email (which of course you will have poured sweat and tears into!) with the following: ○ Greeting ○ Brief introduction to what you do ○ Reference something you read, saw, heard that resonated with you and inspired you to reach out ○ Quick outline of your idea ○ Why it would benefit them or their audience ○ Call for response such as “does this feel like it would be a good fit?” I always end such emails with something along the lines of “if I don’t hear from you in a week or so, I’ll drop you a note to follow up.” OK, so now it’s your turn. Come up with an idea and pitch it to one of your dream clients. If it doesn’t land, don’t be discouraged. Pitch them another, or share your idea with someone else. The main thing is that you take action on your ideas and give them a chance to live in the real world. There’s no greater reward! I’d love for you to share one of your pitch ideas in the comments below.