Yo, did you remember to bring our new business cards?
Yeah, I got em.
Having just started Triad Studios, our primary goals were centered around finding our first clients. We couldn’t do that by just sitting back and waiting.
After a full day of classes, my co-founder Tristan and I each threw on a blazer and tossed some business cards in our pockets. We began our daily trek of walking into almost every single store on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill to introduce ourselves and our newfound venture.
While this method didn’t necessarily net us our first couple of clients, our bold, relationship-oriented approach to client acquisition across varying forms helped us in many ways. If you’re looking for new ways to get clients, focus first on perfecting these four crucial tactics:
Your network is your net worth
I wish I could put into words how profound of an effect a single conversation can have on clients’ future potential. Every conversation you have with someone about the work you do has implications for hundreds, if not thousands, of future connections. To this day, over 80% of the clients we’ve worked with have been from word-of-mouth referrals and relationships we’ve formed with people that talk positively about what we do.
Get out there and do your best to be confident and proud of the value that you can provide to the world. While it’s important to talk about what you do, be mindful of never actually “selling” your video service. This can come across as inauthentic or money-grabbing. Instead, talk neutrally as a strategic expert on the topic and allow the conversation to flow naturally.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for warm introductions to second or third-degree connections. A sense of trust and familiarity between people can go a long way in getting you in a directed discovery meeting. The cold email or calling strategy is, in my experience, a waste of time in such a relationship-oriented industry built on trust.
Become an authority; consistently put out the best content possible
Triad can attribute their first client to an Instagram DM received from the owner of a spa salon who saw (and loved) a cinematic video we created of a snow day in Chapel Hill, NC. In my four years as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, it snowed once. Luckily it was around the exact time when Triad first formed in January 2018. Jumping on the opportunity to get to know each other and creatively work together, we decided to put together a short cinematic video of the beautiful, snow-covered college town. We posted it on our Instagram page, and subsequently, an owner of a spa in a neighboring city saw it and asked for us to produce a video for her business.
Whether it’s an entertaining or informative video or blog article about a specific topic or message, work to become an authority online about your business and craft. For example, put out content on subjects such as:
- How Much Does it Cost to Produce a Video?
- The 3 Most Important Audio Effects in Video Production
By becoming an authority, you inherently portray yourself as a strategic partner to any potential client that comes across your work on the business side - one step past the beautiful visuals you may be producing. You also boost your SEO rankings by doing this.
Take business risks - make a short “proof” video for a potential client
Even though you might have a strong portfolio of work on your website, it can be difficult for specific clients to visualize how their own content might look in some instances. It can be helpful to put together a short video that demonstrates your interest and expertise in the potential project or body of work, to win more prominent clients and bigger deals.
For example, we sought to win a contract with a massive tourism and development authority. We took the risk of traveling down to the city and spending a significant amount of time creating a video specific to the potential project even though we knew we wouldn’t see a dime for that video. It ended up paying off tremendously because it helped us win the contract in the long run.
Be as professional as you can possibly be
It may sound trivial, but maintaining a high level of professionalism in the way you carry yourself and portray your business is paramount to your brand and success.
Dress well, don’t be late for meetings, and have all of your documents and presentations clean and ready for display. Be attentive during meeting sessions and take notes of what you discuss with clients. Focus on crafting your proposals and contracts to be highly detailed and mindful of points addressed in client meetings, and design your documents to be cohesive with your brand image. Send thank-you notes after projects are complete appreciating your clients for their business.
Not missing a beat on your professionalism and attitude will pay healthy dividends in ways you won’t immediately conceptualize.
Note that these are all things you don’t have to be perfect at from your business’s inception. It took us hundreds of hours of practice and experience to be refined at these pieces of advice.
Never stop reflecting and working to improve on your failures and shortcomings. And if you keep doing that, before you know it, getting more clients will be the least of your worries.