I’ve been thinking of different fun projects, one that stuck is a blog and possible video program that focuses on running a creative studio. This will cover business, clients, technology and all focus on our category of work. While i’m still learning everyday, I want to give back to the community i’m fortunate to be a part of. Please comment, share and provide overall feedback on the topics you’d like to see.

Without further delay, let’s start with the top reasons you’re likely losing out on jobs.

Over the last 10 years of pitching to clients as small as a 1 man shop and as large as fortune 50 companies i’ve learned what works and what most certainly shoots you in the foot. Before we dive in, I just want to mention there are some instances where 1 or even all of these may be okay, but mainly.. they are not!

1. The “instant business card”

You know the scene, you’re at an event or bump into a business owner and immediately think “they need my business card in order to really think of working with me”. Problem is, you immediately come off as pushy and instant sales mode. Rather than push your card, why not talk to them a bit, get to know their current struggles and propose some solutions. Then if the conversation goes well, hand them your card and ask for theirs to follow up. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) give every girl your number at the bar, don’t throw your business card around hoping it sticks.

2. Immediately trying to sell

When talking with a prospect your first order of business should not be to sell them (crazy I know, but stay with me). Instead you should listen to what they say, what works, what doesn’t, basically just get a read of the conversation. Then once you have enough information you can propose a plan (practice this) and almost always, you’ll land the sale. If you immediately come in trying to sell, you’ll alienate the prospect, they’ll go on the defensive and its a lose/lose.

3. No work to back up your words

The best salesman in the world will come to a point when they have to show what can be done for a prospect. In web/mobile work this is achieved by showing your portfolio of prior work. However when starting out you likely do not have one. Rather than get frustrated, work to build your portfolio. Start with small projects, use those to get slightly bigger projects and with hard work you’ll have a portfolio that speaks louder than you ever can.

4. The “I’m the best in the world” mentality

Being an expert in your field is awesome, throwing that at prospects however is not always great. The overall goal of an initial sales opportunity is to speak less and listen more. If you plan to ram your ideas and process down the clients throat, then maybe you should sell goods instead of services. While the sales tactics are pretty much identical (we solve a problem), the message needs to be delivered in a non-bragging way.

5. Leaving customers with a “bad taste” in their mouth

This one is a bit different than the other 4, simply because it is very hard to overcome. A reputation is built over years of hard work but can be ruined in one instant. Your goal should be to protect your reputation at all costs, however sometimes a client relationship goes sour. The problem is especially in small business communities, owners know each other and word can spread quick.

There you go, work on your delivery, get that portfolio packed (with quality work), listen more and you’ll most certainly land more jobs.