loader from loading.io

Selling Design Services - RD203

Resourceful Designer

Release Date: 02/17/2020

Standing Out From Your Competition - RD234 show art Standing Out From Your Competition - RD234

Resourceful Designer

How are you standing out from your competition What do you think of when you hear the word “pencil”? I bet that one of the images that flashed through your head is of a yellow-painted piece of wood with a graphite center. The quintessential yellow pencil found the world over. A Medium article by Melissa Gouty titled “Why Pencils Are Painted Yellow" got me thinking about the parallels between a yellow pencil and your design business. I'm going to paraphrase Melissa's article for the sake of my comparison. The common yellow pencil that we take for granted helped spark the renaissance....

info_outline
3 Things To Do Today For A More Productive Tomorrow - RD233 show art 3 Things To Do Today For A More Productive Tomorrow - RD233

Resourceful Designer

Being diligent today will make you more productive tomorrow. I talked about dividing your to-do list into three sections, non-negotiables, procratinatables and optionables, and how doing so will help you organize your day. I also discussed listening to your body's clock to determine the best time of day to tackle certain projects and tasks. Today's post is all about setting up for a more productive tomorrow. And to do that, you need to start today. For as long as I can remember, my nightly routine before bed has included looking and preparing for the next morning. Call it my shutdown...

info_outline
Writing The Perfect To-Do List - RD232 show art Writing The Perfect To-Do List - RD232

Resourceful Designer

The Perfect To-Do List + Time Management = Success. If you search through the Apple or Google app directories, you will find dozens, if not hundreds, of options for creating so-called perfect to-do lists. I like for grocery lists and shopping lists or keep track of the unending chores and tasks I need to do around the house. For work-related lists, my go-to is  (get a free month with this link). I have Evernote fine-tuned with different notebooks for every part of my work life. But it doesn’t matter if you use a digital tool or pencil and paper if you don’t understand the...

info_outline
Producing In-House - RD231 show art Producing In-House - RD231

Resourceful Designer

Are you producing any of your design projects in-house? I got the idea for this episode of the podcast when a member of the shared her new toy with us in our Slack group. Laura bought a . It’s an eco-solvent printer she plans on using to produce stickers, vehicle graphics and apparel graphics, among other things. This new piece of equipment will allow her to produce materials for her clients in-house. She also plans on using it to make pieces to sell through her Etsy shop. This got me thinking about different ways designers can produce things in-house. Now for the record, I...

info_outline
Farming Out Design Work - RD230 show art Farming Out Design Work - RD230

Resourceful Designer

Do you farm out design projects? Finding yourself overwhelmed with too many design projects is a sure sign that you are not charging enough for your design services. Don’t turn clients away. Instead, raise your prices and start farming out design work. The following is a post from the . Hi guys So I'm turning away a lot of work at the moment, as I have my day job, and seem to have very little energy in the evenings and weekends to take on many freelance jobs. Seriously, I'm feeling so burned out, have been for a while now. I do the odd freelance jobs here and there for previous clients that...

info_outline
Invest In Yourself - RD229 show art Invest In Yourself - RD229

Resourceful Designer

If you want to succeed as a designer, you must invest in yourself. Have you heard the quote, “it takes money to make money?” The same concept applies to growing your design business as well as improving yourself as a designer. If you don’t invest in yourself, you’ll become stagnant, outdated, and eventually overlooked. Clients hire graphic and web designers because they want fresh ideas and skillsets to implement them. These clients will quickly tire of someone if all they ever produce are the same old things. No business or person, for that matter, can do the same thing over and over...

info_outline
Print Is Not Dead - RD228 show art Print Is Not Dead - RD228

Resourceful Designer

Contrary to popular belief, print is not dead. There was a time, not long ago, when graphic designers designed almost entirely for print. Sure there were trade show booths and vehicle graphics, but in their way, those are print as well. As the internet became more and more popular, started to encroach on a turf that was mostly populated by computer programmers. And before you knew it, a whole new industry was born–Web design. design allowed graphic designers to help clients on two fronts—both digital design and print design. But as time moved along and the world moved closer to being a...

info_outline
First Contact: Interviewing New Design Clients - RD227 show art First Contact: Interviewing New Design Clients - RD227

Resourceful Designer

Do you vet potential new design clients? How do you know that you’re the right designer for a project? Or maybe the question should be, how do you know a potential new design client is right for you? In the past, I’ve covered what to ask during a , and to ask your design clients about their projects. Almost all of the questions covered in those episodes are for building relationships with your clients after you’ve decided to work with them. But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that first contact with a potential new client before. First contact. The first contact refers to those...

info_outline
What Got You Here Won't Get You There - RD226 show art What Got You Here Won't Get You There - RD226

Resourceful Designer

How are you going to take your design business to the next level? “What got you here won’t get you there.” I’ve heard this phrase a few times over the past couple of weeks, and it got me thinking about my life, my design career and my business. This is not about Marshall Goldsmith’s book of the same title. Although I hear it’s a great book. It’s about the phrase itself and how it applies to you and your design business. At its core, “What got you here won’t get you there” is such a simple statement, and yet it holds so much truth. You can only get so far in life...

info_outline
Creating Systems - RD225 show art Creating Systems - RD225

Resourceful Designer

Are you creating systems to help your design business? Mike, a member of the , posted in the Community Slack group his frustrations with one of his clients. Mike built, manages and updates an eCommerce website for a client of his. His frustration is that every time his client wants a new product added to the site, he fails to provide Mike with all the necessary information, requiring Mike to contact the client, sometimes more than once, for the rest of the info. Mike’s situation reminded me of a similar one I had with a client several years ago. And how my frustrations forced me into...

info_outline
 
More Episodes

Design Selling 101

Newcomers to the freelance life often believe that the success of a graphic or web design business lives or dies with their design skills. This is partially true. After all, if you are not a good designer, you’re going to have a hard time being successful on your own.

But the truth of the matter is, your skills as a designer are second to how good a salesperson you are. Because if you cannot sell, you might as well give up your freelance dreams. Get hired somewhere and earn an hourly salary to design all day, while someone else handled the selling part.

There’s nothing wrong with that scenario. Many designers spend their entire career working for someone else, and they’re delighted doing so. Running a home-based design business is not for everyone. However, if you do give it a go, you better feel comfortable selling because your business will depend on your skills as a salesperson.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Good marketing can sell a bad product, but bad marketing cannot sell a good product?” The same applies to home-based or freelance design businesses.

Someone good at selling, but a mediocre designer can still make a living as a freelancer. However, a fantastic designer that has no sales skills will have a difficult time staying afloat.

Become a good seller.

So how do you become a good seller? Like with everything else, it comes with practice and experience. Although being a people person does help. Let’s break it down.

First, you need to get the notion out of your head that selling is about making a sale. It’s not. The sooner you realize this, the better you’ll be at sales. Selling is not about the exchange of money for services, it’s about giving a client relief and lowering their anxiety when it comes to spending their money.

Clients come to you because they need something. It’s that “problem” that your job as a designer is to provide a “solution.”

However, even though the client realizes they need something from you, they feel a reluctance to part with their hard-earned money to get it. If you can put them at ease with that notion and make them realize what their money is buying, they’ll be more willing to spend what is necessary.

Putting the client at ease.

How do you put a client at ease? The core principle of successful selling is making the client feel cared for and appreciated. When someone feels cared for and appreciated, they let their guard down and open up, and become much more receptive to ideas.

If you offer a client a solution to their problem, and you make them feel cared for and appreciated in the process, it becomes much easier to lead them through the sales process.

The sales process.

Let’s break the sales process into basic components.

Imagine the sales process as a video game. In a video game, you can’t just turn on the game, jump to the final level and expect to win. Video games are designed, so every level along the way equips and better prepares you for that final level and victory. The same principle applies to the selling process. You can’t win over a client by jumping to the final level of the sales process (which is price by the way).

Before you discuss price, you need to lead the client through the various levels of the sales process. Think of these levels as objection points. Obstacles to overcome before moving on to the next level of the “video game sales process”.

Level one is: Trust.

If you cannot get a client to trust you, there’s no point moving forward because you’ll never make the sale.

Think about it. What was the last thing you purchased from someone you didn’t trust? I can’t think of anything. However, I can think of several things I did not buy because I didn’t fully trust the person doing the selling. It’s the stereotypical used car salesman. No matter how much they smile and say the right things, you always wonder what they are not telling you.

So the first level of the sales process is getting the client to trust you. How do you do that?

There are many, many ways to get someone to trust you. Here are the two most important ones, especially when pressed for time, such as on a phone call.

1. Listen more, talk less.

Trust is about focusing on what is important to the client and less on what’s important to you. If you can prove to the client that you care about their concerns and genuinely want to help them, they’ll trust you more.

2. Address their pain points

When a client comes to you with a design project, they imagine it will fix the overarching problem they’re facing. However, there may be many pain points to that overarching problem you need to address.

A client may say they need a website to promote and sell their services. But there’s sure to be some underlying issues they may not be talking about. Things like.

  • a lack of brand awareness for their services
  • increased competition
  • negative publicity
  • low conversion rates
  • dwindling sales

As you’re listening to the client, try to pinpoint their various pain points and be sure to acknowledge and comment on them. Clients will appreciate the added attention and quickly realize you care about them, and not just the sale.

Level two is: See if you’re a good fit.

Once you’ve established trust, it’s time to move to the second level and see if partnering with this client is a good fit.

Just because you’ve helped other clients with similar problems doesn’t mean you are the right person for this particular client, or that this client is the right fit for you. Establishing your compatibility continues the trust-building process.

Tell the client that before you proceed any further, you need to determine if you are the right people to work together to solve their problem. Ask them questions in a mini discovery process sort of way, learn more about them and their business. Find out what results they are expecting from you and from the services you are to provide. How will they deem the project successful?

A great question to ask is, what might prevent them from seeing the results they expect if you provide them exactly what they’re asking for? This sort of question forces them to look internally. What happens if you design the perfect logo, website, poster, etc. and yet they still don’t see the expected results?

Asking this question shows them you care, and are more interested in their success than you are about making the sale. Questions like these help both of you determine if you’re a good fit to work together. If you can show you’re a good fit, they will be more open to whatever you propose going forward.

Level three: Objections.

Level three and beyond is where things get a bit more challenging to explain. Once trust is established by showing the client you care for and appreciate them, and you’ve proven that you are a good fit to work together, It’s time to dive into the project itself.

Up until this point, your conversation was mostly about the client and their business and a tiny bit about the services you can offer them.

If you followed the sales process correctly, you should find it much easier to discuss the design project because you’ve established a level of trust and a connection with the client through levels one and two.

Your job is to now lead the client through whatever “objections” they may have regarding their project and your services and putting them at ease for each one.

Because every client and every design project is different, I can’t guide you through level three. Sticking to the video game analogy, there are no “cheat codes” for this part.

But by openly listening to your client, determining their pain points, and their concerns, you should be able to address any objections they may have as you discuss how you can help them achieve their desired goals.

The Final Level: Price.

That brings us to the final level, price. This is where the video game analogy falls apart because, unlike a video game, this last level is the easiest.

By this point, the client should be fully engaged and ready to work with you.

  • They’ve developed trust in you.
  • They know you understand their situation.
  • They believe you have the solution to their problem.
  • They know you care for them and have their best interest at heart.
  • They view you as an asset and a wise investment.

Price is now just a formality.

Provide the client with a reasonable quote for their project and chances are they won’t hesitate to accept because you’ve shown them the value of your partnership.

That’s the power of the sales process.

Conclusion

What have we learned?

People have been conditioned not to trust salespeople. So the trick to good selling, it to not sound like you’re selling. If you can establish yourself as an asset to the client, an investment and not just an expense, you’ll have a much higher chance of closing the sale.

I read this quote on an article written by Scott Hoover, he credits it to someone named Steve: “Sales is leading people to a solution favourable to you, via a solution that is favourable to them.” And that translates to a successful sale is a win for both parties involved.

You complete the sale by building trust and showing the client you appreciate and care for them and their success. And they return the favour by accepting the price you present them.

As a bonus, when done correctly, these selling tips can help transition you to a value-based pricing strategy because the client will see the value in hiring you and will be willing to pay for the investment.

What does your sales process look like?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Tip of the week Matching addresses

If you pair a website with a Google My Busines listing, make sure the address is written exactly the same way on both platforms.

If the address is 123 North Main Streeton Google my Business, don't write it 123 N. Main St.on the website. The two need to be identical in order to take advantage of Google's ranking algorithm and place higher in the search results.