How do I find someone to find clients for me?
June 18, 2011 11:46 AM   Subscribe

How do I find someone to find clients for me?

I want to start a multi-media digital creation company. I think I can do all the actual art and programming, but I don't like finding clients. I would be interested in partnering with or paying someone who will find good paying clients.

1. What would this job be named? "Sales person"? "Client relations"? "Accounts manager"?

2. Where would be a good place to find one?

3. Should I pay a salary or a commission or would it be better to have a co-owner of the company?

4. How much would I pay?

Any other hints in this area would be welcome. You can mail if you want to.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why don't you post in the jobs section.
posted by TheBones at 11:52 AM on June 18, 2011

It sounds like you don't want to (or don't know how to) run a business. Questions like this, where its obvious you are aproaching starting a business with absolutly no idea how or whats invovled make me think you're unlikely to actually succeed. If you want to do design and development and want other people to run the business and do business development, that sounds an awful lot like you should be an employee, not a business owner. Get a job somewhere that will give you profit sharing or will allow you to buy equity, so you can learn what it takes to run that kind of business, without actually being responsible for running it.
posted by Kololo at 12:16 PM on June 18, 2011 [10 favorites]

1. Account Executive, President or Business Development are all good names depending on how big or small you want to look. The bigger the title of the sales rep, the smaller your company looks.
2. Post a job ad to find one. Network in the area you want them to work.
3. You should pay good commission and give them salary, equity or a mix.
4. At least as much as you want to make.
posted by michaelh at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2011

You want to start a multimedia digital creation company, and it sounds like you exclusively want to do actual digital creation stuff. If you don't want to be an employee, as per Kololo's suggestion, you really want an equity partner and not an employee. This other person is going to be running the business; you want them to have a stake in the business, and you might not get someone competent/qualified if you don't offer ownership.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:01 PM on June 18, 2011

I'd like to encourage you -- there are many, many people who own very successful businesses who do not actually go out on sales calls because they have people to do that for them. I think you are smart to ask the question, and smart to think about hiring people to do the work that is not your strength, leaving you to do the things you are best at. There's a lot more to running a business than sales and marketing, after all.

To me it sounds like you want either a partner, a sales person, or a marketing person. How do you envision that customers will find you? Through a website? Email campaign? Cold calls from a sales person? Well-placed articles about your company's work in trade magazines? Or are you good at asking and getting referrals and actually need someone to have the money talks with customers? Or are you good with all that, but need someone to maintain the relationships you will develop? All of these things will determine what type of person you are looking for (and so, their title and pay).

The US Small Business Administration's website has some great information. The Sales section might help you focus in more on what you want; Marketing has its own section; the one on Writing a Business Plan might also be helpful; and be sure to look at the Thinking About Starting section.
posted by Houstonian at 3:22 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think Kololo and J. Wilson have given you some excellent advice, but I thought I'd add some color as the long-ago co-founder of a failed consulting company. Consulting is sold almost exclusively based on relationships because there are few other criteria that can be used to differentiate a good consultant from a bad one. Yes, you may have a sterling portfolio and great references, but so do many, many other consultants in the same field. If you find a sales rep who has the kind of relationships that can help you, she is likely well beyond your league financially, since she'd much rather make 10% commission on 20 consultants (either working for a 20-person company or as a contract recruiter) than even 100% commission on a single resource.

Almost all successful small consultancies (including small law firms, small medical practices, etc.) run by having the consultants themselves handle sales. The ideal thing would be to find a partner who has skills similar to your own (though perhaps not as developed) but is more comfortable with the sales role.

Side note: "I think I can do all the actual..." is a red flag for me. If someone is not currently paying you well to do exactly the work you're looking to do, starting a successful consulting business will be very difficult. There are a few people who can jump in the deep end and start a business in a new field, but they are almost exclusively people for whom selling themselves is second nature. Don't fall into the fallacy that you'll be more successful than other consultants you know because you're more skilled than they are.
posted by backupjesus at 4:36 PM on June 18, 2011

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