How do I sell myself to a business without coming across as rude?

There is a local escape room business that has 13 locations in different cities around where I live. I enjoy going to them with friends, however, I noticed that a lot of their marketing images for the different “escape games” as well as social media posts are REALLY bad, like some blurry stock images slapped together bad. I have professional experience as graphic artist for marketing, specifically for the game industry, and I am pretty confident in my work, and am very confident I can make some really good marketing for this escape room business that would far exceed what they currently have.

My problem is that they have not suggested that they’re looking to change their marketing, and I don’t want to offend anyone by basically saying that I think it’s bad and that I could do a better job. Maybe the owner’s kid did the marketing, maybe they did it themselves, I’m not sure.

Has anyone experienced this before? Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do/say that would convince them that they not only need a change, but that I’m also the person to do it?


I can’t comment on local nuances but I think you should do a demo/example (don’t go overboard with too much).

Share this, positioning it as a labor of love (you could even upload it to somewhere like Instagram and tag them in it if they are active there), along with a bit of a bio into your connection/interest in their business, then that could hopefully spark a reaction/conversation.

Once you have a dialogue with them then you can drop in 'if you ever need any help or ideas for your marketing…". DO NOT start sharing your Behance portfolio or anything like that which would dilute the authenticity of your message

People are not convinced by cold contact - it’s much much more likely to gather responses from visually getting their attention and showing that that looks like (this maximizes relevance to any stakeholder regardless of their technical knowledge).


This situation is clear for me -> don’t talk with them, don’t offer anything - Just sit and make CRAZY GOOD quality work example or examples … Do it and just show this to them. If they need new banners - do new banners, if they need online website - do website… :slight_smile: don’t ask, just do.

Then during the meeting just show this to them and ask what would they change / remove / add - because those are only examples.

their own eyes will convince them to do it :slight_smile: believe me - back in the past I was racing around my country with offers and regular speaking is worthless comparing to pre-made personalized examples.

When someone sees some pretty good works made specially for him… then 50% of success is done.


@charlie4282 @PeakStar
I think those are great ideas, I just don’t know exactly how I’d do that. For one, judging by the quality of their current marketing, one could think they don’t really care about it and just put something there because they need to. A lot of the subject matter for their marketing is also pretty generic, so making something that could be considered specifically for them as “fan art” is pretty difficult. For example, one of their escape games is called “Behind Enemy Lines” and the image is a black silhouette of a soldier on a green grungy background with the title written over top. That image and name could be for anything, such as a movie or game, so how would I make something personal?

I do this stuff professionally, I’ve even done some work for EA and other game companies, so doing work for them completely free and hoping they like it and want to hire me doesn’t seem right.

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From my experience, these points are required but are worth almost nothing:

  1. A good idea.
  2. A great quality/product.

The only things that matter in cases like you are these:

  1. Know the customer personally or find someone that knows both you and the client.
  2. Good social skills. You must be easy to speak with and a person that like to talk.

In short, you can have the best quality in the world but it doesn’t matter, without contacts and social skills you will not be able to get any work in this way.

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Wrap the negative in a compliment. “While I love your brand/company, and am a long term customer of yours… I don’t feel your marketing materials reflect the high quality of your offering and your service”. Maybe not that exactly (needs a bit of work), but something along those lines.

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Honestly this sentence sounds very “corporate” and is something I’d call BS on right away.

In my experience, these exit Room businesses are run by young people and the direct, open, honest approach would be my go to. Sentences like the one above come across like something I’d read in a spam mail, a generic sentence that fits to everyone and is said to everyone.

You are a customer there, talk to the staff, be friendly, try to connect and tell them exactly what you told us. You can also say that you are afraid to be rude but you would love to work with them, as long as that is honest.(*)

All this corporate sh*ttalk is not appealing to me, and I can sense if someone is saying words to me that he has prepared and is not genuinely talking.

(*) many people will tell you that you shall not express fears or hesitation in such a situation but my approach is different. It makes you a normal, feeling human being to express your fear of offending and your hesitation, and that is something other people can relate to, find genuine and authentic. Of course, every person is different and cultures are different. This is just my opinion.

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True, but if they have 13 locations in different cities then they are pretty corporate, and talking to the staff in one location might get you in contact with whoever handles the marketing, but the million dollar question is what he should be saying at that point, which nobody has provided any suggestions for yet. Of course try and connect, of course be friendly (I did say it needed some work!), but unless he ditches the whole idea of saying that their current content is terrible (in not so many words), then he’s going to have to say something. Otherwise it just comes across as another (somewhere between cold and warm) sales call.

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You are absolutely correct in your post, he asked for advice on what to say and you delivered an answer to that. It is just my personal opinion that I would not do it in this way, as I would feel uncomfortable talking corporate speak.

I do not have a lot of experience in these conversations, so everyone can take my words with a grain of salt. It is just that I want to be authentic and not act like I am a work robot who is playing the game of business conversation but rather be the emotional, flawfull human being that I am.

In the media world, I have met and worked with people who came to me in the same way. And Escape rooms are a young business, which is in a playful “gaming” kind of genre and I would not approach them like a big, “boring” corporate client, even if they are spread out over the country and reasonably big.

In the end TO has to make his own decision and you provided him with a totally reasonable answer, I just want to stress: you do not have to be perfect in business talk, and if you ask in a forum on how to approach a client you most probably will be called out on being uncomfortable in trying to reproduce the confident business talk.

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but this is the only option to catch customer attention - not every customer but when we talking about someone “big” or bigger than smaller it’s worth to do - if you fail you can put those works (with changed logo) in your portfolio - maybe someone from same business area see this and will be interested :slight_smile:

I learned one thing - those days this kind of companies have many phone calls, emails and personal visits from design and marketing companies - if you want be one step ahead you have to put work in this ;]

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I understand what you mean. The vast majority of clients usually come to me, so the ice is already broken and I can just be myself knowing that they already like my work and want me to do something for them. I’m usually pretty good at that, but this is a new situation for me, where they not only don’t know who I am but probably aren’t even looking for someone to do work for them, even though I personally think it’d be in their best interest.

As a crazy coincidence, my friend just started working at this same business a few days ago, which I didn’t know until after making this thread. I brought this up to him last night, and apparently, the business is a franchise, and the owner of the few branches in the area is pretty uninterested in changes and upkeep, they just simply don’t care. So it sounds like I’m just plain out of luck in this situation.

Thank you all for your suggestions!


In current world situation you will uncover many more designers and IT experts than you can imagine :slight_smile: this is only the beginning :smiley:

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IT expert is like the safest job in a pandemic crisis that forces everyone to do everything remotely…
Unlike escape rooms which are closed during quarantine.

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