3 Client-getting principles that will never change

Mediums change. Human nature doesn’t.

Whether your message is conveyed on a phone, a computer, or in the future, who knows, actually inside someone’s head – the statement above holds true.

People today are the same as people 1,000 years ago. We just wear different clothes. But what makes us “tick” on the inside is still what’s in our cores.

Based on this, here are 3 human-nature-based, client-getting principles you have to master to grow any business. And they’re worth mastering, because you’ll never not use them.

1. “How does this pertain to my survival?”

We’re hardwired to constantly analyze everything around us and prioritize it according to what will benefit us the most to what won’t benefit us at all – or even harm us.

So your marketing has to instantly communicate how you’ll benefit the customer.

Don’t waste their time. Everyone is short on time – so anything that wastes it is seen as harmful, and thus, ignored.

Make sure every sentence and graphic on your website stays true to this, and is 100% about your market, and what’s in it for them.

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The only way I know of doing this is through target market research. Spend time on blogs and forums they frequent and contribute to. Spend time talking with your customers and exploring their needs and wants when you do your interviews of them for your creative projects.

People will tell you exactly what they need to hear in order to buy. They don’t hide that info. It’s just not enough marketers actually ask.

2. Copy is king

Because “we” come first, that means the information that tells us if something is beneficial / harmful will always be the most important part of any marketing medium. Even if some day written language is replaced by a strange form of technological telepathy, the “copy” will still be king.

Copy is the actual language of communication, whether that’s body language, written language, tone of voice, or anything else.

Your design needs to mold itself to the copy.

That’s my biggest issue with so many template-based websites. People “cram” copy into cookie cutter spaces when it should be the other way around.

When you do that, you’re handcuffing your star batter, then asking her to hit a home run.

You start with your message, then you form a design that brings it to life and draws attention to it.

That doesn’t mean design can’t inspire copy – it certainly can and does, and it doesn’t mean that the workflow is always as neat as, “Write copy -> Design -> Done.”

It just means that you have to know what you want to say first before anything else, and that everything else comes second.

Need help? Check out these posts:

3. We fear risk

Whether it’s trying a new restaurant or starting a new business relationship – risk brings us fear.

If your initial reaction is, “Well I’m not scared of those things!” – that’s great, but your customers are, even if they’d never publicly admit it.

In fact, the first step in contacting you is often perceived as the riskiest. Make sure you reduce that risk as much as possible.

The biggest generator of fear is uncertainty. Sub-consciously, people wonder, “What happens when I call? Will they be nice? Will they think I’m dumb? Am I wasting my time here? What if they’re dumb?” and so on and so forth.

Remove the uncertainty by telling them what happens next.

For example:

Give us a call now! We want to learn about you and your project to see if we’re the right fit for you. You’ll talk with one of our super-friendly team members who will get all the info we need, and answer any and all questions you have, too.

This removes the feeling of risk by explaining that they lose absolutely nothing by reaching out. In fact, they’re only risking a few minutes of their time (per the above example).

  • I counter the fear of speaking to someone rude by saying the team members are super-friendly.
  • I counter the fear that their concerns won’t be heard by explaining we’ll answer any and all questions.
  • I’m countering the fear that we don’t care by saying “we want to learn about you.”

The phrasing may seem simple, but each line is carefully thought out and carefully crafted to let people feel at ease, and feel good about picking up the phone.

What do you think?

A lot of the above is theory, but I’ve found it to never steer me wrong.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Agree, disagree, learn something new, have something to teach me?

Leave a comment and let me know.


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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.


More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.


  1. Very good article and advice! Thanks David!

  2. Sharon Pettis McElwee says

    Thanks, David. Another thing that seems to help me is to steer them towards their next step with a call to action. Your sample copy is a great example of the how and why to do it.


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