Keep Up Your Frequent Contact With Clients and Prospective Customers in Tough Times
This is a truism that I keep telling people year-in and year-out but feel it is worth repeating again because of the current economic client.
Whether it's fear of getting a negative response or the feeling that maybe it might be futile, I know that at least some of you are hesitating to put yourself in front of retailers who aren't likely to be in a position to buy much if at all. My advice: don't let those emotions run your businesss.
Think about it: Who are retailers, when they do buy, going to want to work with? People they have relationships with -- as it's always been! In this scenario, these are the people whom they know are -- at the very least -- still in business and still churning out fresh material. It may not necessarily mean someone they have dealt with before, but if they know something about you, it puts you on their radar.
If they haven't heard from you in quite some time, in this economic climate they are going to start wondering, and that's not good. They may like you or your work or both, but if they don't hear from you, they will be less inclined to make the extra effort to find out, and just go with someone they are "familiar" with.
The critical point to making this work is not to continuously peddle yourself like some used car salesman but instead work on building a relationship. The approach should be more "just keeping in touch" or "here's what's new and exciting on our drawing board" than "here's what I've got to sell you." It takes a little forethought to do well. But whatever you do, don't hole up and disappear until things thaw out.
Follow-up Tip: While relationship-building requires a little more finesse than flat-out advertising, the new digital social tools available for free or at low cost now make it easier to do. This is one of the major reasons why you should embrace social media like blogs, e-mail newsletters, twitter and social networks like FaceBook. They make it easier to tell people what you are up to and invite them to respond. It doesn't always have to be a dialogue, but at least your clients and potential ones will know you are still in business.
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