JABJAB

A blog in pink font.

Month: March, 2013

Attracting new clients

How do you attract new clients when you start from scratch? This is one of the key challenges we are facing. Usually people bitch about having too much work to do. We bitch about having too little work to do. So if anybody wants to drop a load of work on our desk: please feel free to call our non-existent PA Samantha to schedule an appointment. She has a lovely voice.  The Group Executive Committee will await you with a smile here at the Global HQ of the world’s most unknown agency.

In the meanwhile we continue to figure out how to attract new clients. The books and the experts will usually just state the obvious you already know, listing what you have to do but not how to do it. It’s like advising to construct a roof when building a house. No shit? I wouldn’t have thought of that. But thanks.

The thing with attracting new clients is that there is no recipe for it. There is no universal “how”. If there were, it wouldn’t be a difficulty to sign new deals when you start from scratch.

When we launched our company in January we started spreading the word amongst our friends, families and other people we know. We also wrote a letter to some companies offering our services. But we didn’t stay on that route for very long. For one simple reason: waste of time. Their time and our time. How many letters and leaflets do you find in your letterbox everyday? Too many. And how many do spark your interest? Most likely none. It’s like playing the lottery: the return on investment is close to zero.

“But everyone else is doing it so you have to do it too or elsewise you will not get noticed at all.”

Another great advice to be ignored. It’s rubbish. It’s similar to a bazaar where you have all these merchants trying to sell you something. All lined up next to each other, selling the same stuff. Each one of them is trying to convince you to make a purchase. They are not attracting you. Which banana would you like? The one with an intense yellow touch or the one which is less bent?

Why should you bother to make a choice if you can’t spot a point of difference that would benefit you. You rather just ignore it.

So, how do you attract new clients? We’re still trying to figure out ways that stand out from the annoying bullshit everyone else is doing, but so far we haven’t  had any idea that would be worth trying. For the time being we simply continue to do what we have being doing up till now: we position us by just being ourselves, so when we meet new people they simply just get to know us. Some encounters have resulted in getting hired. Not as fast as we hoped it would happen but it has worked. After all I believe attracting new clients is like making new friends: you win them over by being authentic, kind and funny. Did you ever make friends by running over to strangers and telling them “Hey, look how cool I am, this and that are my qualities. Wanna be my friend?” I don’t think so.

There’s a difference in attracting new clients and getting new clients. Getting is what everyone else is doing. Bothering people. Attracting is where you need to figure out how to position yourself. And this is linked to who you are. If you want to attract new clients, start working on your personality first.

Black and white

Trying to get a biz running as opposed to running a biz is an accurate description of the current state here at the Global HQ of the world’s most unknown agency. This leaves me with a fair amount of time which I intend to invest wisely. So I’m founding another company at this very moment:  JABJAB is our first subsidiary, the world’s most unknown blog with its own Corporate Centre in place. Isn’t that exciting? I want to hug you.

But let’s put things in perspective. Because at the end of the day it’s all about perspective.

Living proof is Barack Obama, that world-famous chap who is married to Beyoncé (the British model who starred in Roberto Cavalli’s fashion campaign). But that’s not the point.

Point is that he is considered the first African-American President of the United States of America. I did my research: I looked it up on Wikipedia. Twice. I even asked my neighbour to verify this terrific knowledge in case somebody tampered with my computer. Then I decided to go live with it: Wikipedia says Barack Obama is the first African-American President. If Wikipedia says so, it must be true. And if the public says so, it is true. Because the majority is always right. Because a perception serves as the truth if it is acknowledged by a majority.

End of discussion.

But Barack Obama is not just African-American, that’s only half the story, literally. His mother is of Caucasian descent. His father is from Kenya. The full story is: Barack Obama is the first black and white President.

Generally he is perceived as the first black American President, though. Because in context of every President before him it’s a point of difference. All US Presidents before him were white.

Now imagine Barack Obama being President of Kenya. In this context he would be considered the first white President. Because all former Presidents of Kenya were black.

It all depends on the angle you choose when looking at things. Just because the majority chooses one angle, doesn’t mean it’s carved in stone and indisputable. There are always other angles available. And looking at things from a different perspective usually opens up new possibilities.

Therefore we want to initiate a global campaign that raises awareness of perspectives. Barack said that we can download his pic from the internet. Furthermore, we  would like to get Roberto Cavalli on board.  Anyone got his mobile phone number?  We also accept donations. You will be listed as a donor contributing to the success of this global effort. And as a special token of our appreciation your portrait will be decorating the hallways of our Global HQ and our Corporate Centre.

Thank you.

Hard-boyled

Here at the Global HQ of the world’s most unknown agency we disclose the unpleasant fact each entrepreneur is very likely experiencing: the VUC, pronounced /fʌk/, (some sort of) acronym  for “void filled with uncertainty and challenge”. The VUC is the part you don’t read about in the success stories; it’s the part that is omitted or just mentioned briefly. From time to time the VUC keeps you awake at night, resulting in asking yourself how the hell you’re going to make it. The VUC is the phase in which you might need to search for a part-time job  in order to pay the bills (currently my scenario) because your biz is not yet up and running to the extent you wish it were. The VUC is the part that blocks you occasionally:  The thought “What the fuck was I thinking trying to pull this off..” becomes a frequent visitor of your mind. That’s when inspiration comes in handy. And the best inspirations usually come from people who are the underdogs, the ones who are not favoured by the majority.

Susan Boyle is such a story.

She appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009. Until this day the video has been viewed over 120 million times on YouTube. You know immediately that she nails it when she starts singing.

What I find particularly interesting is the reaction of the spectators before she starts singing. Everybody treats her like a loser, nobody takes her seriously, they are laughing at her. A guy in the audience whistles at her, obviously mocking her. When she states she is 47, you hear more laughter. The jurors are highly sceptical, just observe their facial expressions resulting in frowning and raised eyebrows. When asked how successful she would like to be, she names Elaine Page. More laughter. When asked which song she’s going to perform, she says “I dreamed a dream” from the musical Les Misérables. One of the jurors, Piers Morgan, laughs in a way that says “Oh my God, I don’t think that will go well”.

No one was believing in Susan Boyle. Everyone thought that this performance is going to be an embarrassment. They were all proven wrong. They were the actual embarrassment.  The only person believing in Susan Boyle was Susan Boyle herself. She just needed to find a spot, where she could evidence her gift. As a matter of fact she did so successfully that she went from being unemployed to being a millionaire in a very short period of time.

But nobody saw that at first. What everyone saw was a chubby, too-old-for-whatever woman, coming from the countryside, trying to achieve something that wouldn’t work out. Regardless of how many people didn’t believe in her and made fun of her, Susan Boyle stayed self-confident.

When you are surrounded by scepticism, but you believe in something, you feel it’s the right thing to do, that’s when you need to keep sticking to your game the most. Disregard everyone else who doesn’t believe in you. At the end of the day people have their own realities. Their perception of what and how things are or should be, must not impact you.

Do it like Susan, just trust yourself and never give up. She was 47 when she made an entrance. That’s a hell of a long time enduring the VUC.

Hard-boyled.

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