The Client Letter
June 4, 2012
Sunny 64 degrees
I have to admit, I've worked with some really great clients in my day. Awesome people that add to my life in many ways.
Unfortunately, I've also worked with some duds. A blessing in disguise really since some of those "special" folks serve as the inspiration for these letters you read every day.
In the end, working with the duds was my fault. I did it. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to work with them.
I chose to work with them because I wanted to get a client and I wanted the monetary benefit that comes with that. They showed up and well... the rest is history as they say.
Looking back, this is a dumb way to operate. I was sleeping back then so I'm going to cut myself some slack.
You gotta wonder why this happens though. Why do you work with clients that just aren't a good fit?
I think the reason is that we as service providers are told to focus on the wrong things in an effort to grow our business.
We think we should be trying to get clients.
But trying to get clients can lead to some pretty bad situations.
- Trying to get clients can lead you to do things you wouldn't otherwise do if you didn't "need clients."
- Trying to get clients can lead you to say "yes" when you really should say "no."
- Trying to get clients can lead you to do work that you really shouldn't (and don't want to) do.
- Trying to get clients can mean you accept fees you end up resenting down the road.
I think the priority should be demonstrating you rather than trying to get clients.
When you're out there demonstrating you (you do this with examples of your work, by publishing, by creating and growing some sort of "platform" etc.) then you have a much better chance of attracting the right clients to you.
Your "demonstrations" weed out the folks you have no business working with before you even know they exist.
Instead of spending time trying to "get clients," your work becomes creating opportunities to demonstrate in creative ways.
This way of operating is going to create a higher quality client for you. But it WILL probably take a lot longer than the "go out and hunt somebody down" method.
In the end, it's a choice between push and pull. You can push yourself into the marketplace, or you can pull the right clients to you.