“How do I get more clients? “, “How do I build more clientele working as an engineer?” I get asked this question a lot, as a Studio Owner/Manager and as an Engineer starting out, so I thought I would share some knowledge from my experience of working with and building new clientele over the years.
As an engineer starting out, chances are that you will be working with a lot of beginners and amateur musicians/producers. Recording can be daunting for established musicians and there’s a lot of gray areas especially when working with someone whos new to the game. The first step I learned the hard way was to learn how to manage the expectations of my clients. There are a lot of areas that should be clarified and discussed before starting work with anyone. No engineer wants to work countless hours with a client that doesn’t know what they want and vice versa. It’s very important to manage expectations in terms of what you can deliver as an engineer and what can be expected of you. This is extremely necessary for a healthy business relationship and will be crucial in retaining a client for you. Which brings me to the next point…
2.Retain a client before looking for new clients!
This one should be obvious but is often overlooked. (I have done this too) There are cases where I’ve seen engineers looking for newer talent and clients to work with when the clients they currently are working with are unhappy. Trust me, it’s way easier to retain a client than to get a new one. Invest your energy first in making sure that your current set of clients are happy with your service.
3.Go out of your way for your clients
Again, this one is a no-brainer. The more you actually care about the project you’re working on the higher your chances of actually having a satisfied client. To me, there is no excuse to not give your 100% to a project that you’re working on. You’re in this field in the first place, because
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you’re passionate about what you do. If you feel you’re not passionate or care about the work you’re doing, you should be doing something else. I have seen this clear distinction in client satisfaction and happiness, engineers and producers who are not 100% there are very easy to move on from.
As an Audio Engineer working on a session, your job is to direct the recording to get the desired result that your client is looking for. It is very hard in these scenarios to work with a client that wants things done a certain way and you have a completely different approach. In these scenarios learning how to effectively communicate with the client and reaching an effective midground is important. A part of this is also understanding how to read the situation, when to press and when not to. When to leave the decision to the musician and when to put your foot down. Again these are a thing that you will learn with experience, but it’s always good to know and prepare for them. It is also very important to learn how to communicate to a musician when it comes to their performance, some musicians are open and look for criticism and some don’t, understanding which is which and how to get your point across to them is also an important skill that you should build.
5.Exceed the client’s expectations!
This is a surefire way of winning clients. Make your clients sound better than they actually do. The way I look at it, coming to a recording studio is an experience for any artist/musician. When they come into the studio they have a certain vision in mind as to what they expect their end result would sound like. When you exceed this expectation of the client and make them sound better than they actually expected, the client is guaranteed to go through this experience again.
These are a few things you can do to build and retain your clients. If you ask any successful engineer the key to succeeding in this field, the first thing they’ll tell you is to build long-lasting relationships with their clients. Your loyal clients are not only valuable because of their direct business– they’re also going to be putting your name out there, spreading the word and ultimately bringing you more clients. Word of mouth advertising is by far the most form of marketing for any engineer or producer.