Land of Opportunies: Part 1 – Engage & Educate

Recently, in the space of a few days, three individual events caught my interest. All were business opportunities that were already ‘warm’ and with the right approach could have led to income for the people I was interacting with. Each has a slightly different slant with each I feel there is something to reflect on, in this post I will relay the first.

The Business Branding exercise

I was looking to engage some professional assistance with proper branding for my business and website. My early attempts with Photoshop were not great and particularly consistent with the message I wanted to convey. In an attempt to remove duplication and the need to respond individually to every interested person, I set up a page on my blog with my key requirements and how I’d like the application process to work. I then asked for recommended and interested Graphic Designers to go to the page and if interested to respond to me.

What may not have been apparent is that I have not had to do this before so was not au fait with the usual process for engaging a GD, so I asked interested parties to visit my site, get a feel for me and my business and ‘sketch’ an idea or two, ‘fag packet sketches’ if you will. In my line of work, it is usual to have to offer some kind of taster session for people to assess you and to start to build rapport and trust. In asking for a little initial input, I was asking for a similar interaction.

The results of this exercise were interesting:

  • I had 80+ hits on the particular page…
  • Only two Graphic Designers actually did what I asked, providing some initial concept ideas, prior work portfolios and some outline costings.
  • Some came back and said that they did not work the way I had asked but actually entered into conversation, telling me how they worked and educating me as to why they worked the way they did
  • Some responded that they did not work that way and therefore would not consider working for me unless I paid them upfront. In this instance not actually taking the time to tell me why that would be the case or engaging in any conversation
  • Some didn’t bother to engage at all

For those in the latter two categories, this was truly a lost opportunity. I was clearly ready to spend money and the job actually went to one of those who ‘did not work that way’ but engaged in a dialogue and who ultimately convinced me via their portfolio and approach that they could do a good job and I could work with them.

Engage and educate

The learning I would take from this experience:

  • Potential clients may not be aware of what you do or how your process works, therefore, engage with them, take the time to understand their requirements and educate them in your approach, processes and requirements at the same time.
  • Invest time in building trust and rapport with a potential client. What does 30 mins of your time cost? Would it be worth it to win an order and have the potential of repeat business? Think lifetime value.

In part 2, I will tell you about my experience with a national Health Club chain…