Monday, November 27, 2023

It’s Personal

Read Time: 1.5 minutes

“My partner of five years just left to join another firm.”

That was the first thing he said as our Zoom window opened.

We’d been connected by a mutual colleague. A couple of emails back and forth resulted in the Zoom call and an engagement.

My view of how to gain new clients has changed a lot over the years. And with that change, my writing has become increasingly personal. Several recent posts have been about growing up as an adopted child. Surprisingly, those posts resulted in more thoughtful comments and notes from people than anything I’ve written. Better yet, those emails led to three people becoming new clients.

I’ve long believed that people hire us, not companies; individuals hire us who need our skills, think we can help, and, most importantly, like us. If they work for a large organization, once the decision to retain us has been made, they go through the required process to get us contracted by their company.

This process has been going on exactly like this my entire professional life.

A note from Kurt Niedermeier furthered my belief in person-to-person conversations as the right thing to do.

Kurt texted me a link to The Futur with Chris Do, a podcast where Chris interviews Richard Moore. Richard is a sales coach who helps people develop new business through LinkedIn.

Richard Moore’s approach is all about thinking of people as people. And interacting conversationally.

I listened carefully to Richard’s advice and used his suggestions to guide a series of messages on LinkedIn in response to a request to connect.

Here’s an example of these exchanges:

Me: Hi, Donnie. Thanks for asking to connect. What was it that caught your interest?

Donnie: I’m friends with Ross. And, well, I need to get a creative boost. The biz has worn me down to nothing.

Me: I’ve seen a lot of that toxic stuff. Ugly and painful.

Donnie: It’s worse now. The focus on the short term seems largely to blame.

Me: Community and people seem to be the right place to focus.

Donnie: Ted, let’s switch to email. I’d like to set a time to talk.

We switched to email, and yes, Donnie signed up to be a client after a few more back-and-forths.


  • Love this, Ted. The part about community – though always important – has special relevance today in an industry being shaped by particularly interesting economic/global forces and tech advancements like AI.

    The best form of social media is still the handshake and a smile. It’s not all toxic.

    • Ted says:

      Yep, well put, Chris. And in providing creative skills and insights, as you and I do, it is always just us and a person who needs what we do. Your comment makes me think I should write a piece on AI and creative guidence.

  • Nicte Cuevas says:

    This is so true! Nothing beats the human connection we can create when we focus on community. We’ve been so rushed to deliver at the click of a button that we miss on the power of sharing our stories.

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