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20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients


20 rules of David Ogilvy? David Ogilvy is one of the most famous advertising specialists and successful copywriters of the 20th century. Each ad campaign he prepared had instantly paid off. This is the reason why he achieved such a great success. But how he has achieved this?

It took David 15 years to shoot up into an owner of the biggest ad agency with $55 mil annual sales. Even though big corporations were not so eager to work with young businesses at that time, almost every company David always has been dreaming about working with became his client. Over the years, using trial-and-error approach, he was looking for ways to find and get clients that he wanted to work with. Among them were such giants as Rolls-Royce, Shell, Cisco, Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and many other companies working in different areas. David has become a real expert in prospecting. In this article we will give you twenty rules that he used to attract clients.

20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients

20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients

1. Perceive searching new clients as sport

When you set up a new company, you need to be more serious. Take care even if you lost your clients. Look for the new clients with natural ease. Play to win, but enjoy the game.

2. Never work for clients that are too large to be afraid to lose them

Fear to lose clients itself may destroy your life. Soon you may even lose everything you have, if you rely only on big clients. David Ogilvy once rejected Ford offer claiming that the budget they offered him would have been equal to half of his turnover, and thus it would have been very hard to stay independent. Finding the ideal client as early as possible may be not as useful for your business as you think.

3. Make huge efforts when choosing clients

On the average, Ogilvy & Mather rejected about 60 clients a year. You should choose your clients without waiting for them to choose you. There are not so many high-grade agencies out there. You have a chance to choose who you like to work with, so draw special attention to this process.

4. Expand your circle of customers by not more than one client per two years

Always try to keep your current clients. This should become your major purpose. If you work with cool clients and you will manage to save them, then you won’t need to search often for the new ones. David Ogilvy found out even more reasons why too many clients may actually harm your business. In his case too rapid business growth resulted in too fast hiring. Because of that, there was a lack of qualified specialists. It distracted main brainpower from paying attention to old client liaison. You need to go to the effort and work hard to enter into cooperation with new clients. In fact, you need to build relations from the ground up. That’s why you shouldn’t make much of new clients, and focus on the clients you already have instead.

5. Search only for the clients that provide services or produce something that you really like

As opposed to legal experts and health workers, creative specialists cannot be considered separately from their work and projects. If you don’t actually enjoy what your client does, it will end in nothing. To work successfully with a client, you need to like your client’s activities.

6. Accept the client’s offer if you know for sure that you may outperform his previous projects

Ogilvy once dismissed The New York Times offer, because he wasn’t 100% sure he would make adverts better than the previous agencies had done for this newspaper. If you feel like you can’t do better than the other contractors that were working with your client, we advise you not to start.

7. Don’t accept offer from the clients with unstable business

Such decision may be hard, when you need at least any work. But if a client with not so optimistic perspectives addresses to you, it’s better not to accept his proposal. No matter what conditions he offers you. It really doesn’t matter how good your work is. If their situation is rough, you won’t be able to improve everything. Success of your clients usually defines your own success. That’s why it is better not to rely on the clients whose future is unclear. You will just lose time and money.

8. Work only with the clients that want you to earn money

20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients
The fact that you do work that brings results and profit to your client doesn’t necessarily mean that it will instantly affect your own salary. Each firm that works with its clients should keep the balance between over-servicing and under-servicing. Let your client understand that your work helps him earn money, and you want to have a share from his profit, no matter how small it is. There’s no use in feeling shy about this, and you shouldn’t avoid this issue.

9. Don’t search for the clients too openly

If any company announced that it wanted to hire David, he wouldn’t agree. He was always saying that he would like everyone to know about his success, but he wants to keep his fails in secret.

10. Don’t participate in the contests with lots of participating agencies

Spending time on never-ending meetings with clients doesn’t have any meaning, particularly if they have a list of other candidates. You have far more valuable resources – your current clients. So you shouldn’t spend your time on clients to be one of their many options.

11. Search for the clients independently

A person who hires you is usually the main decision maker in the company. David felt that too many people responsible for customer communications may mislead his clients. So, if you wish to find a proper client, it’s better to do everything by yourself.

12. Feel free when communicating with clients

It’s good to run through your speech before calling, but David always said that he hates speaking from a piece of paper. Prepared presentation or text keeps you within bounds, which will confuse you when speaking with clients.

13. Tell your prospects about your weak points

David learnt this from antique dealers. He realized that when a seller pays your attention to, let’s say, a crack in the furniture, he instantly gains your confidence. You may also use this telling your client about certain drawbacks before he finds them. In this way your strengths will look more trustworthy. The client will plainly feel that you are honest with him.

14. Don’t overuse numbers

Excess statistics and data will be too dull for your clients. He said that no company will hire any agency just because it had increased sales for some other company. In fact,clients are not interested in hearing about other companies. They need to know what you can do for them.

15. Clearly tell your clients why you think they should hire you rather than someone else

20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients
Next day after his every meeting with a client David would send a 3-page letter explaining why they should hire him. To help your client with making a right choice, send a similar e-mail right after the meeting or interview.

16. Never pay anyone for searching new clients

David Ogilvy believed that such clients won’t bring any good results. Nowadays, there are lots of recruiters, HR managers and even freelancers, who provide client searching services.

17. Avoid the clients with good ideas but limited or no budget

Surely, work with such client may lead to something grand, if everything goes right, but this is not very likely. If everything goes wrong, it will cost you more than you expected. So think twice if it’s worth risking.

18. Understand the personality value

The difference between agencies is not as big as it may seem. The majority of the companies may easily show how they helped a client to achieve strong results and increased his sales level. A difference between two new companies often lies in its head’s personality. Just remember that it has a strong impact on increase and decrease in customers.

19. Stop working with your clients more often than they stop working with you

If your client’s attitude shatters the morale of your employees who work for him, it’s a strong reason to cut ties with him. Don’t allow anyone to behave towards you in such way.

20. Use your own skills to find new clients

To promote his ad agency, David Ogilvy has been creating advertisements. You may do the same with your services. It’s cool to show the level and quality of your services by a real example. If you are into graphical design, you may use infographic in your advertizing campaign. And if you create quality content, write interesting article about it. In this way your client will see your real value.

We hope you liked 20 rules of David Ogilvy for attracting clients. We are sure that you may use them in your work, no matter what you do. We also suggest you to read an interesting article about methods of persuasion to optimize conversion.

If you have anything to add, leave a comment.

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