When starting off as an entrepreneur getting a bank connection and a handful of clients seems to be all that matters. But what business school will never teach you, is that without network, you will never succeed.
My networks lead me to not only clients, but also to the best advice I was given in my carrier. Especially this advice stuck with me.
- Charge what you are worth. You don’t want people to say; she’s quite inexpensive, you could use her. You want people to say: She’s the best, she is also expensive, but she’s great.
This is an everlasting truth. People want quality – even if it costs more, because it’s worth more. And the thing is, that if we have too many clients that pay too little, we run ourselves to death and can’t do as good a job as when we have fewer clients with bigger budgets. We need to remember to turn away clients that can’t pay what our work is worth.
- There is no such thing as a business lunch. Don’t let clients/men take you out to lunch to do business. Have your business meetings in your office. Show them you are dead serious about this, focus on your business and pay for your own lunch.
I don’t know how other people do it, but I can’t do serious business with new clients and eat lunch at the same time. I’m hungry at lunch time and I want to eat, not propose business ideas with food in my mouth. Eating with clients is for long term relationships.
- Understand what people want from you. And then give them only what is related to your business. You don’t have an obligation to dance with anyone at the Christmas party, you don’t have to drink if it makes you feel uncomfortable and you certainly don’t have to go with a client to a football game. Do it if you think it would be fun. If not – then don’t.
At that time I had already attended several events that I disliked and which made me feel uncomfortable. And you know what – I’m great at my job. Hire me because you want great, creative and upbeat PR. If you want a friend, buy someone else. If I need to be your buddy to do business with you, then find someone that is less of a professional.
- Ask your good clients to recommend you. Ask them to pick up the phone and call just one friend/acquaintance and say; Hey, I know a great PR Agency, I use/ used them myself, how would you like to have a short meeting with them?
When you’re done stepping on your own toes and pick up that phone and ask a client to recommend you, you’ll find, that they don’t mind. They just never thought of it themselves. And even better, it works!
Do you have any good advice to share?