Choosing a dream client

Posted on October 20, 2014

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What’s a dream client, why would you want one and how do you get one?

OK, I might not answer all those questions in depth but when I started this blog I promised I would write more about the growing pains of growing Collective Content – which I haven’t really done as much as I’d like.

HandshakeBut the above questions are important to anyone with their own business, however small, however fast-growing and successful.

I think we all know what a dream client would be. It means obvious things – you get on, they pay you properly and all of that side – but more importantly that you love working with them.

Consider:

  • People. A dream client would normally – though not always – involve people you’ve come to know or have worked with in the past. Chemistry is a high part of any dream client relationship and you know when you have that chemistry.
  • Desire. So a dream client means someone or a number of people you want to work with. But they should really want to work with you. It should be mutual.
  • Access. It’s not just about great people who value you too. A dream client should mean these people are close to you. Not all-the-time, always-on close. (That can be a bad thing.) But definitely not someone you shake hands with and never see again. Nor someone who then insists on you working through others, even other external agencies.
  • Meaning. And – not everyone will agree with me on this – I think a dream client should be involved in interesting, meaningful work. We hear how upcoming generations of workers want more than money. Well, it’s not only them. Helping someone do something for the greater good – sometimes referred to as a social enterprise – can matter for some. For me, it’s mainly that you believe in what they’re doing and get excited by it.

Whether at Collective Content or in my previous corporate life, I’ve been very lucky to work with bright people who often work at technology companies – companies that are very much changing the world around us, fast.

At Collective Content, we’re also attracted to clients who we can feel immediate benefit from our core services. Maybe they haven’t used media-grade content in the past or have had bad experiences. It’s not about novelty (for them), nor about low-hanging fruit (for us). It’s about making an impact with something we think a lot more exciting than some of their traditional marketing.

Why would anyone want a dream client? It sounds obvious to me.

How does someone get one – or two or a dozen? (Not sure anyone has 100 of them.)

  • People. Approach people you like and who like you, based on past work. Get that head start in expectations, trust and working rhythm.
  • Luck. On the flip side, chance your arm. We’re not quite there yet but we’ve approached companies we’ve admired over LinkedIn. It’s quite a powerful thing to hear “We love what you do. We’d love to help you and here’s how…”

The second tactic isn’t quite luck but it’s certainly about chancing your arm. Remember, I’m talking dream client. Not just very good or great clients.

And consider combining these two approaches. Of those you already know and who love what you do, who can put you in touch with someone you’ve researched?

Use your network. Use LinkedIn. Chance your arm. The pay-off will be worth it.

*photo credit: AJC1 via photopin cc

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

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Posted in: Work