Sep
11

How to Date Your Clients and Score

So lastnight I went to AIGA Arizona’s monthly Say Anything. This month’s topic was, “How to Date Your Clients and Score.” The presenting speaker was Brian Drake and Arthur Milano of Brian Drake Design Illustration, who hosts the monthly get together.

┬áBrian takes a personal approach to business, and draws several takes from his personal dating experience to succeed. Brian opened with this simple remark, “Successful business isn’t businesses talking to businesses, it’s people talking to people.” Brian went on to talk about how he has personal relationships with each and every client he has. He knows when their kids birthdays are, if they’re getting divorced, or if thier dog dies. “I never call to talk about business, I always call just to check up on them, like a friend.” He said that this is what makes his company successful at closing deals, big 6 and 7-figure┬ádeals.

An audience member asked, “What if the client isn’t into that type of personal relationship?” Brian and Arthur simply replied, “Then they’re not right for us.” Brian went on to say, “It’s just like a passionate relationship, You don’t want to be with someone who just thinks you’re so-so. You want them to dig you, and if they don’t, then you’re wrong for eachother.” He went on to say, “Be excited about that moment with the client, not the future or the executable.”

Brian and Arthur also discussed the word “vendor” and why they don’t use it, or want people to describe them as such. Arthur said, “Vendors sell hot dogs, we are suppling a valuable service.” Brian piped in, “If your client calls you thier vendor, you’ve done something wrong with that personal relationship. The word vendor implies that you’re expendable, that you’re not a valuable asset.”

While personal relations are great, Brian also warns to make sure you’re staying in touch with the score, “Always ask if this relationship is good for me, and is it good for them as well.” Arthur stepped in to say, “We care about the clients success, not just about the money or deadlines, this builds trust, and with trust work goes well.” Trust goes a long way, it makes a committment between the client and yourself to make both businesses successful.

Brian and Arthur switched gears to talk about how thier partnership in thier company. Arthur said, “Brian is the Yin for my Yang, everything I’m not so great at he excels and vise versa.” Brian went on to talk about how it’s important to have a second person to bounce ideas off of. He also spoke about how to hire. “Always hire people who are better than you. Surround yourself with people who are successful.” Brian and Arthur aren’t just personal with thier clients, they also carry that vibe into thier own company. Arthur commented, “Your job effects your life, if you don’t get paid, you can’t pay your bills, that effects YOU. Your work is PERSONAL.”

I really enjoyed the approach Brian and Arthur take with thier business. I think we worry too much about the bottom line sometimes and forget about the people our work effects.

However, being a front end architect in a company I really don’t interact with our clients, however I feel the my project managers are my client. I can then take these “dating” perspectives and apply them to the inner workings of my company. Good relations within the project structure can make it go more smoothly, personal opinion is more respected, and everyone treats eachother as a professional and an expert at thier part.

Keep your eye out on AIGA Arizona’s website for more Say Anything events as well as other neat events.

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This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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