Another day full of information and ideas!
The morning was spent learning about client care and retention. It's much easier to keep a current client happy than to win a new one! Speaker Joan Gladstone (Gladstone International) gave us a great deal of excellent information about nurturing client relationships, and ways to get things back on track when they've begun to derail. She discussed the use of surveys to assess client satisfaction, and advocated communication as the best way to keep clients happy. One of my favorite statements from her talk was, "there are few things clients love more than learning the status of a project without asking." This is definitely something I will keep in mind!
Following Joan was the dynamic duo of Ilise Benun and Colleen Wainwright presenting, "Building a Well-Oiled Marketing Machine." They were entertaining and enlightening and educational, making this a very enjoyable session. Three components to the successful marketing machine: Focus, Tools, and Attention, were discussed, the tools at great length. Those tools include:
1. Networking - go meet people, in the real world and online. Know your blurb, and be prepared to whip it out on a moment's notice. (I have two, because, as I told the assembled group today, I have two personalities... and thanks to Rainmakers, mine were ready, polished, and kick-ass!)
2. Research Calling (no more Cold Calling - no one likes that anyway.)
3. Email Marketing - newsletters are good, and don't forget to use your email signature!
4. Marketing-Savvy Website - make it work for you, keep it updated, help people contact you.
5. Print Materials - of all the options here, I think the most powerful is the handwritten note.
(By the way, you should go visit Colleen's site. She's competing in a contest to become Southwest Airlines next blogospondent, and needs your vote. And, her video's awesome! Go vote!)
The special presentation by Jan Kabili of Lynda.com was okay. I picked up a few good Photoshop tips. I felt the presentation didn't really connect to the audience very well, and that Jan didn't understand the questions people were having. The information was good, but the delivery was only average.
Following the lunch break (which I spent walking outside - it had obviously rained earlier, but the sun was out, and it was nice to escape to the outdoors for a while. I need sunshine...) we began our money-themed afternoon. This kicked-off with Peleg Top's session entitled "How to Talk to Your Clients About Fees." I enjoyed this information-packed session tremendously. I took notes furiously, even though Peleg assurred us the slides from his presentation would be available. Some of the most profound points he made were not even directly about money. He talked about making a mindset shift, to go from saying, "I want to be a well-paid, highly respected, successful designer," to saying, "I AM a well-paid, highly respected, successful designer." It's subtle, but oh-so-important. He also covered ways of talking about money with clients, breaching the subject, and handling the selling process. The closing remark was perfect -a fortune cookie fortune he'd received years ago: "Sell your ideas. They are worth much money." How true.
Illustrator Lloyd Dangle continued the money conversaion in his session, "A Quick and Dirty Look at Proposals and Contracts." He gave some great information, although I sensed there were some major idealogical differences between he & Peleg - in the way they approach proposals especially - and felt they would have been well-served to have collaborated a bit more before giving their presentations. Peleg also ended up stealing some of Lloyd's thunder by going over proposals at length in his own presentation. Overall, Lloyd's advice was excellent, and I'm really hoping to get copies of his sample boilerplate proposal and contract, for comparison to my own. I know there's some language I need to adjust.
Ami Kassar of ideablob.com gave a short session on idea sharing, including an excercise in ideablobbing. His key point was, Community is About Give and Get, and "AHA" moments happen every day on ideablob. A very intriguing concept.
My evening ended with a review of my marketing materials with Jeff Fisher (LogoMotives). I asked him to review my recently completed circle•the•date brochure. He seemed impressed enough, and gave me some great ideas to implement with the group, as well as suggested starting a blog specifically for invitations, which I will definitely be doing soon! Thanks, Jeff!
A very long, exciting, stimulating, but tiring day. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, though!