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Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.

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Steve Kownacki
Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 15, 2014 at 4:35:46 pm
Last Edited By Steve Kownacki on Jan 15, 2014 at 4:59:41 pm

There are a number of threads on here about the need/use of good accounting software (I use Quickbooks Pro) and a CRM (Customer/Client Relationship Manager, I use Salesforce). Both are required to accurately bill, generate reports and track client habits. When used correctly, you become significantly more profitable. Guess what? Clients like to feel important and remembered.

Going thru my top 20% of clients last of 2013 (and it's not just $ volume, it's people I love to work with) I was able to show a client their spending, habits and needs, and Identify how I could take more off their plate. The result: I'm on retainer now and they are nearly doubling the work with me in 2014. My cash flow is certainly more stable this year too (subtext: Happy wife). This is the 2nd client to do this with me. Plus they have no desire to entertain other vendors.

Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.

Or the other quote: If you don't take care of your customers, somebody else will. Harvey Mackay

Wishing you a prosperous 2014!

Steve





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Rich Rubasch
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 15, 2014 at 5:06:51 pm

I would think that approach could backfire too....like showing them how much they spent with you over 2013 and if it could have been replace by a salaried employee. How did it result in them doing more work? Just by showing them that price-per was low enough to do more of it?

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Ned Miller
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 17, 2014 at 8:18:26 pm

Hi Steve,

May I ask you about the retainer deal? I have had clients ask about that over the years but kept them at arm's length. I was worried that they may take up too much time or need projects finished very quickly and I would be forced to short change other clients. I do not track by the hour though (I edit too slow), so how do you know if you and the client are doing a win/win? Seems like it would be dangerous on the vendor side.

So could you please explain how something like that works?

Thank you,

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
www,bizvideo.com


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Patrick Ortman
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:17:03 pm

Congratulations, Steve!

I shoot people.
http://www.patrickortman.com


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Steve Kownacki
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 29, 2014 at 2:04:56 am

Thanks Patrick! I'm gonna meet up with you someday.

Steve





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Steve Kownacki
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 29, 2014 at 2:41:15 am

Well, Ned, this is my first go-round with this sort of thing and so far, so good. I have always tracked my project hours like a hawk. (Well, more like at rabid pigeon, but tracked none the less). After looking at billings, frequency of projects, their anticipated upcoming desired work... it made sense to me to pitch the retainer idea. We agreed on a scope of services, came up with a $ amount and simply divided it by 12. I get the next best thing to a regular paycheck without hunting down money, and they just see work getting done. I still track hours (and different items have different rates) and we settle up every quarter. Clients are also kept aware of the monthly billings.

My agreement states "reasonable" turn-around (we discuss each upcoming project in detail) and while I do give them exceptional service (I get paid at the beginning of the month for work not done yet) they understand they can't beat me up on unreasonable deadlines.

There's no rate discounting or anything like that, but if you figure out how much it costs to obtain a new client... retainers become more profitable.

Rich asked if it could backfire, I suppose it can... especially next year. So I need to keep them happy and keep adding value so they keep me around.

Steve





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Steve Kownacki
Re: Sharing a huge success! Know thy customer.
on Jan 29, 2014 at 2:25:09 am

A couple of thing in play, Rich, that worked to my advantage - A new CEO that loves video, an at-capacity PR department, my great personality, and timing.

1st quarter volume was 1 video every 5-7 weeks, 2Q 1 video every 4 weeks, 3Q 2 videos every 4 weeks, by then of 4Q2013 it was 2 videos a month. These ranged from locked down talking heads - total 3-4 hours on-site & 1 hr edit - to 2 days on-site & 3 days edit. I worked with them to track webviews and prove the value of video.

Now, the "more work" wasn't just shooting and editing (it is rougly 50% more video), but it includes writing (for the videos, web and print too), graphics (for the videos, web and print too), project management - things that go into a full video but some tasks that they were doing themselves and were more efficient to outsource - to me. When they mention about being overworked, I just tell them "I can do that for you." Say that 4-5 times in a meeting and they finally ask "how?" I am a resource & make things happen. I do not personally do all the tasks - I'm a shooter, writer, director and rough-cut editor - but I have people to call on. The costs are reasonable enough for specialized tasks that they couldn't hire a single, annual salaried person cover all the bases.

Steve





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