I woke up in the morning, and with sleep still in my eyes stumbled to my desktop computer to check any messages that would call for my attention. I saw a new post in the Futur Pro Group, which knocked the sleep out of my eyes and immediately spurred me to look for a flight to Los Angeles.
Chris Do, the founder of The Futur, posted an update mentioning that he would host an in-person meet up for networking, teaching, and an opportunity to use their studios to create content.
For those unaware, The Futur is a content and education platform that leverages video and distance-based learning models and connects a global community of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs. This is how design education will be taught in the future.
The weekend was full of value and the opportunity to meet design leaders from all over the globe. Rather than talk about how good it was, I wanted to sum up the top 5 takeaways from the weekend, which you can apply to your business today.
1) Learn to Introduce Yourself
One of the first things we did when entering the meetup weekend was to introduce ourselves. It seemed simple enough, but there was a certain way in which we were supposed to go about introducing ourselves.
Stand up in front of a room of creatives professionals and say the following:
- Say your name
- Describe a problem businesses have
- Describe how you solve that problem
- Describe what you use to solve that problem
The key is each of these items must be covered in about 10 seconds.
I said the following:
My name is Nathan Allotey, and you know how businesses describe their product in a way that doesn’t connect with their target audience? I help brands position their product around their unique value using design and digital marketing strategy.
If you can get down your “elevator pitch” as a part of introducing yourself, it can lead the conversation toward securing new clients faster.
2) Build Relationships
I have a confession. I thought going to the Futur meant that I would be able to rub shoulders with the leaders of the Futur and make a good impression on them. The real key is not the fact you get to meet up with Chris Do and the team (even though they are cool). The real value is found in conversations with creative professionals you meet from all over the globe.
The weekend is about learning but also building relationships, and that is a skill that is needed when working with clients. Not every client interaction will lead to a sale, and as a creative professional, you need to master the art of getting to know someone and play the long game. Some leads will take multiple interactions before officially becoming your client.
3) Collaborate with Others
For the longest time in my business, I was a “one-man army.” I learned how to do everything from copywriting to website design and even brand strategy; however, this creates a considerable dilemma. I am limited by my time, and if I genuinely want to get clients who have larger budgets, then I will have to collaborate with others to do so.
Going to the meet up allowed me to meet other creative professionals, but there is a hidden bonus here. The Futur has a certain standard of creative professional they are teaching. Most people are not only good at what they do, but they have the business acumen to tie their work to a result. I can’t tell you the benefit of working with someone that already knows brand strategy, and I don’t have to attempt to teach it to them; this alone is a great value.
My dilemma of looking for other creatives to land larger budget projects may be solved.
4) Try Something New
During one of our after-hour sessions, someone asked a question, “Should I pay $2,500 to join an elite business group of female CEOs?” The group is full of their target audience, but they were not sure if paying this amount would ensure they get clients. Chris Do posed a simple question, is what you’re doing working? The simplicity of the question made the room go silent, but it was a question that caused everyone to think. Sure, $2,500 may be quite a bit of money, but if it yields at least one client, then return on investment could be tenfold.
If you are trying something in your business and you’ve been doing the same thing over with mediocre results, it may be time to switch things up and try something new. Going to the Futur Pro Group meetup in LA was something new for me, and it inspired me to take more risks (calculated risks) in my own business going forward.
5) Learn to Listen
During another one of our after-hours Q&A sessions, one of the pro group members had a question. Many people around the room were anxious to answer this question, but Chris Do stressed that the more important thing was to ask the right questions and listen to the person rather than jump to give a solution.
Diagnosis is more important than presenting a solution. Chris even shared that he has won clients over by being the agency that took the time to listen the most. Clients can feel when someone cares about them or whether you are simply after their money.
These are my 5 takeaways, of course, there are many more things I could share from the weekend, but I’m a firm believer in putting what you know into practice before trying to learn something else. These 5 items are not unique to my experience, and if you’re able to put them into practice, I’m sure some good will come out of it.