Attracting new clients

by Parvez Sheik Fareed

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.