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Grinner Hester October 3rd, 2009 04:00 PM

10 steps to getting and keeping a client
I wrote this a couple of years ago but thought some of you who specialize in post-production may benefit from it:

After all the technical hooha, this subject is the bottom line. It's a given that you must be able to provide a top-notch product in a timely manner at a reasonable rate. Know that there are more than a few in your market who can do the same. They will come to you repeatedly for two reasons: State of mind and a good time. Their having a fun day is crucial and should not be over looked. People skills are half of editing. Every market offers different scenarios but here are some tips that can help ensure a long lasting relationship with today’s producer:

1: The session is at nine. Get there at eight. Make sure all the elements are there and ready, if possible. Take this time to have some coffee, listen to some tunes and basically chill. When the client walks in he/she will catch and notate the vibe and that will set a mood for the day.

2: Have fun. That’s the idea anyway right? The more fun you have, the more freedom you’ll be given, resulting in more fun to be had.

3: Feel ‘em out. Do they want to drive the boat? Are they relying on you for input and creativity? If you can’t surmise from their open dialog or actions, simply ask. They’ll honestly tell you and you guys can rock from the get-go.

4: Drawn out times like digitizing beg for conversation. Ensure the technical end is cool but try not to let the one in the big chair get bored. Pick a subject (themselves or their families are two great topics to start with), but keep ‘em into it.

5: Buy lunch. Be happy about it. They’re paying a hansom hourly rate. Have someone bring in some sacks of good food with a smile on their face. Tokens of appreciation are always appreciated.

6: Bring something to the plate. By now they need to know that what you’re providing can’t be found up the road. If you’ve not shown your specialty by now, you’re waiting too long.

7: Don’t hesitate to free them up to do other tasks they may have building up in a workweek. Artists often work more efficiently alone and producers often appreciate being able to run that important errand, knowing they are being taking care of at the same time.

8: Make sure the deadline is met and that you and the client both know the finished product is the best it can possibly be, given what was provided. This is the most important thing in an edit session.

9: Make sure they feel the love. Hopefully by now, they’re already hooked but that almighty dollar speaks loudly. Round down on the hours. If it’s taken 9.5 hours you can easily point out your charging for an even 9. This is always loved by the check-writer and will affect your bottom line in the long run. Note… don’t venture away from your set hourly rate. That’ll pin you down later. Just cut ‘em some slack after the session.

10: Bow tie it. The dubbs are dubbed, you’ve gotten your high five or hug and you can just make it home in time to read bedtime stories. Ask them a simple question as they are leaving. “When will I see you again?” closes another booking nine times out of ten. This easy question is an important link between one-off clients and buddies who show up a few times a week.

-Grinner Hester, Contributing Editor, CreativeCow Magazine

Shaun Roemich October 3rd, 2009 04:04 PM

If this was Facebook, I'd "Like" that. Excellent advice. As someone who has been on both sides of the client desk during an all day edit, I can say with certainty that every point is right on target. Thanks for sharing!

Tripp Woelfel October 3rd, 2009 06:56 PM

Very well, if rather campily said. If you strip out all the industry specific frills and dressin's, it's business/sales 101. Regardless, it's good to say it from a personal point of view to give others in the field a chance to put it into context. There hundreds of self help books out there that say the same thing about business "X", where X is something other than video production. The principles are always the same.

What this points out is that there must be more than a few folks out there that are lacking the basic business knowledge to run their own business. To those I would say, "get it, learn it, understand it." Without it you will be swimming against the current for a long time.

Grinner Hester October 13th, 2009 10:52 AM

We are in the friend-making business. Never will you have a batter sales force than a swarm of happy clients.

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