It’s very rare for somebody to start off with his dream client. What fun would that be, anyway? You need to have something to work toward and excite you.
I founded Crowd Surf in 2007 and have provided specialized marketing services to some of the biggest names in music and entertainment. But Jade and I definitely didn’t start with our dream client. We took any project we could get, for better or for worse, for the first couple of years we were in business. It’s always progressed into getting better and better clients.
A couple of years ago, we locked down the Backstreet Boys, which was always our dream project to work when we were teenagers. I’m glad it happened that way, though. We were in business for five years before that, and it made us appreciate the moment to the fullest extent. I’ve definitely seen new firms open up and land some awesome clients right out of the gate, but I always see those firms go under within their first two years of operating. There’s just something special about working really hard before you get your dream project.
I must say, though, our definition of a dream client has drastically changed over the past eight years. When we opened our business, we wanted to work with A-level artists. Now, our definition of our ideal client has drastically changed. Our dream client now is somebody who pays his bills (you would be surprised how frequently -- and with whom -- that’s an issue), is very communicative, has reasonable expectations and trusts us to do the job he hired us to do. I know this is a realistic definition, because I am fortunate enough to have many of these fantastic clients.
Follow these methods, and you’ll get the clients you want to work with:
1. Perfect your craft.
Before you start approaching your dream clients, it’s very important to make sure your service or craft is perfect. Jade and I worked at Warner Bros. for three years prior to starting our company, and we took on several smaller projects in the first couple of years of our business before we went after bigger projects. We wanted to make sure we could deliver a fantastic product to our ideal clients before we decided to have them on our roster. We wanted to make sure we were 100 percent worthy.
2. Plan your pitch.
When you finally get the opportunity to pitch to your dream client, it’s important to make sure the pitch is customized and looks fantastic. Don’t use the standard template you’ve used to pitch for your past projects. That may have worked, but this is the time for you to push your boundaries and motivate yourself to take it to a whole new level.
You have to make it so clear that you’re the perfect company for the job. It has to be undeniable. When we’ve recently landed some of our bigger projects, we put together a completely customized deck. The potential clients could see how much we cared and wanted it, which is one of the reasons we ended up getting the jobs.
3. Keep the job.
If you’re lucky enough to get the job, you have to know that it doesn’t stop right there. You pushed yourself hard to get the project, and you’re going to have to keep pushing to keep the client on board. They hired you because you went above and beyond to sell them, and they’re going to expect that in the service you provide to them as well. However, this is fun to do -- because, after all, it’s your DREAM client. It’s what motivates you and makes you grow and perfect your company and career.
4. Take out the trash.
In order to have capacity to take on your dream projects, you’re going to have to shed some baggage along the way. When you can afford to do it, get rid of the clients who aren’t benefiting your or are weighing you down. I remember how much better I felt when I fired my first client -- and I have no problem doing it now when it’s necessary. It gives you more energy to spend on getting and keeping those dream clients you want.
You’ll notice immediately how much more passionate you are about your business, and how much happier you are running it, once you’re working with the clients you’ve always wanted.