Getting new client work can seem like a dark art. Getting the right type of work can seem even more difficult. There are many different ways of getting hold of projects and each type of creative outfit employs a different tactic.

New projects can be won in pitches, they can be agreed over lunch with a long-term contact, or while the new business people and agents cold-call the earth. Some work is done for the love of the craft, some for money to keep the studio going. The first type of project usually goes in the portfolio, the second type gets hidden and forgotten. 

When prospective clients start looking for a creative, the process usually begins in one of three places: a Google search, word of mouth recommendation or first hand experience with the work you have created. The client will browse sites, compile a shortlist, then proceed with an email enquiry.

From the client perspective, this should be straightforward. The client emails five people selected from their online portfolios. Those five emails will be met with as many different responses. One or two emails won’t get answered for a few days, the third person will quote rather cheaply, the fourth person will send a quote which is double that. The last person will analyse the email and think about the project and what value they can add. Is it suitable for them? Is it playing to their strengths? Can they do a great job? They will pick up the phone and call the sender back to find out more. Although their quote might end up the most expensive, they are the most likely to get the job. 

It is so easy to see enquiries as passing traffic. If clients take the time to make the initial contact, it’s silly to simply reply with a robotic answer. Even if the current enquiry isn’t fully right for you, stay in touch.

No email will ever beat a phone call. Regardless of the business size, the key is to be personable and to show willing to turn the client’s brief into a success. People will buy into your enthusiasm more than your Photoshop skills.

This is an extract from Book of Ideas by Radim Malinic. Order it on Amazon