Recently at Adobe MAX, I was speaking to some other professionals. They wanted to know what they could due to attract more clients and retain existing ones. I shared a simple piece of wisdom I try to teach to all of my employees and partners.

When given a choice, people will work with those they like and respect.

I know… not that deep and profound on the surface… but let’s break it down a bit.

  • Choice. Ultimately, our clients choose us. Sure, you can fire a client… but no matter how much you want to work with someone, it’s ultimately up to them. Remember that you need to build a relationship and provide continued value over time.
  • Likability. Not everyone will love you… but you need to be likable. This means you treat others with respect. You try to be pleasant (even when it’s a bad day). You go out of your way to think of others and create a work environment that leads to creativity and growth.
  • Respectability. This is a tough one. For me its equal parts quality work, integrity, and reputation. You need to find a way to grow your reputation without being overly self-serving. Look to get involved with industry or local events, post useful articles, help others. The goal is that people look up to you and see you as a great colleague. Combine that with solid work and ethical business practices and you’re on your way.

The barriers to entry are falling as far as price and gear is concerned. Instead, focus on the relationships you have with clients and colleagues. I’d love your thoughts in the comments below.