Trying to compete against overseas designers and developers? Overseas designers and writers are churning out work as fast as they can (to make money as quickly as possible). Luckily, there are simple ways to beat outsourcing, keep your clients, and get new ones.
Back to those outsourcers for a minute. The trouble they have is that they’re many time zones away. They don’t have time for personal attention. And, they can’t meet or talk to their clients face to face. But you can.
Send something personal
Instead of thinking like a 21st century person, try thinking like a Victorian instead. Create a calendar with your company name, photos, and appropriate reminders (if you’re in the gardening business, this could be planting and fertilizing timing). A graphic designer might display beautiful typefaces (or even art made with type). Or just include a bunch of completely silly holidays (like International Bacon Day). You can even make them up.
Bob Poole suggests Bagel Day! Who doesn’t love bagels? Call your favorite client and ask if you can drop by the next day. Why? Because you’ve just declared tomorrow to be Bagel Day. Deliver the bagels, and thank them for being a client.
If personally delivering bagels is impractical, send something else (tickets to their favorite sports team, a bottle of wine, or even better, gifts for their kids or grandkids. My dad owns several buildings in CT. His real estate broker regularly sends gifts for my nephew. Has she endeared herself in a way that no other broker ever did? Sure she has!
Email and telephone conversations are great, but sometimes quite a bit can get lost in translation. With written words, verbal cues, tone of voice, and temper are missed. Telephones are better, but you can’t see face-to-face.
Try scheduling regular video conferences with your clients. It can be for updates, conference calls, or even part of the work process (don’t just suggest a typeface, show them in real time and get real time feedback). Or go through comps. This used to be expensive, but with Skype and Google Hangouts it’s free.
Face to face
When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get stuck in your own “cave.” I’m creating! Don’t bother me.
But, sometimes, you need to get out (you’ll feel better, get new ideas, and meet new people). Go to a networking meeting. Have coffee with a client, or reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while. Look for complementary creatives (graphics and web development, for instance). People do business with people they know and like. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind too.
What other ways can you reach out?