This week we bring you our pressing topic of the moment straight from our reader-driven discussion boards! A recent topic brought up by chriscarter inspired us to ask our larger audience: what are some good tips for consultancies and small studios in the business of design? Carter gets the conversation started by asking:
"Following on from the discussion on 'who does your sales', I'm really interested in finding out about methods of generating leads and new business. What are other Core77 members' experience of this?
In the small consultancy I work for, part of my remit as a senior member of the design team is to bring in new clients. So far I have succeeded in winning work through a previous employer for a large engineering company. I have attended trade shows and connected with lots of people in various companies we would like to get business in. Is the best approach once you have a connection to simply call them up occasionally to see if they need design support? Is cold calling a successful approach to winning business? I imagine this is a numbers game, whereby you need to contact a number of people before you get a warm lead. What other methods are applicable?
Also, it would be interesting to hear others thoughts on digital marketing strategy. How effective should a consultancy's website / social media be at attracting new business inquiries? Should the website be seen as a key tool to attract new work, or more of a placeholder with which to direct a connection once the initial contact has been made?
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This Core77-er's inquiry encouraged a number of different answers. Below, we list a few of our favorite suggestions:
Keep your friends close
"1. Retain [your] current clients. Don't let them jump ship.
2. Networking through current clients. Nothing better than getting a recommendation from a colleague. Works best with larger businesses with multiple business units."
"Let your contacts know you are there. Send New year's wishes, newsletters, and sometimes just call a contact to ask for information or advice about something."
Web networking is just as good as IRL (if not more)
A trade show always feels like a physical instance of a website to me - only sporadically I have made any true connections there. [My] advice is to show people that you want to work with them. At trade shows have pens and markers ready, participate in events where possible, do small workshops and demonstrations even if they are extremely simple.
Get involved in the design community
Participating in design contests and exhibitions, even if only partially related to your work, can be very fruitful in establishing connections and generating new business. See if you can talk to the organizers, they usually are the ones who know many people, including those high up in the organizations.
We want to hear your thoughts—what are your tips for landing great design gigs? Share your advice in the comment feed below!
(Also feel free to check out the original post and contribute on our discussion board!)