Barbra Streisand was right: people need people. Even after a year of working from home and being able to communicate within the four isolated corners of your room, we’re itching to get back out there to make more connections. Great creative relationships are a privilege and a pleasure and it’s down to both parties to keep it thriving. But when they work, they’re magic. Once the world starts to open up, we can’t wait to play an active role in the creative freelance community, to produce more work, learn from others, win some new clients and most importantly, build friendships. Here are some tips on how to keep your name fresh in the minds of clients and other creatives in order to build strong creative relationships for the long run.
Keep communication constant
Keep tabs on your creative partners through social media and consider emailing a few industry friends each week to see what they’ve been up to. You might find that some are creating new projects that could use a little virtual cheerleading. It’s also possible that you open up some new opportunities to collaborate on future work! Regardless, showing up is always a great idea — even if it’s on the other side of a screen. A shoutout on Instagram, a quick photo post of their work or even sending a quick text on the launch day of a rebranding are all examples of how you can step up and be that person.
Be an active member in the creative community
Needless to say, quarantining and working remotely can feel extremely isolating, especially on top of the cancellation of traditional networking opportunities. To remedy this, consider gathering your colleagues together for a virtual or in-person happy hour to connect. Even better, you can use this time to facilitate connections within your industry. A new partnership can add endless benefits for both parties.
Refer clients their way and build each others’ network together
Sending clients to your creative partners not only gives them more business but also tells them that you respect their work and all that they have to offer. A referral is the best form of compliment, so the next time you’re working with a client, suggest a few trusted vendors for them to consider. By nurturing your industry relationships and making sure to build creative relationships for resiliency, you will strengthen a network that will be there to help you and your company — not just financially, but mentally and spiritually as well.
See clients as individuals.
Your prospect is an individual. Yes, you may have an ideal client profile but your prospects and clients are also real people. Find out what’s different about your contacts.
Too many people ruin relationships by making it all about what they have to say. Listening is a vital relationship-building skill. Your contact will notice if you make the relationship all about you. In email interactions, listening means reading the contact’s emails carefully and asking appropriate questions.
Learn what they need.
If you pay attention, you’ll start to understand your contact better. You’ll know what they really want and need. This knowledge will help you work more effectively with them each time you do business together.
D&AD has launched its first digital-only Annual - which is a showcase of all the winning work for the 2020 awards. All free to view and is an invaluable resource for those in the design and ad industries.