Selling is a skill that does not come naturally to most people. It can feel phony and pushy. For many designers, it’s an unpleasant part of their job that they’d rather get over with as soon as possible so they can focus on designing. If you think of selling as trying to convince someone to buy something they don’t want, of course it’s going to make you uncomfortable. But you don’t have a problem answering a question about yourself, do you?
Jeff Charles, who helps entrepreneurs market their new businesses, has written a guide for “non-salesy” business owners – those who aren’t at ease with making a pitch for their company. His advice: forget the “elevator pitch”; tell a compelling story. When meeting with a potential customer, says Charles, don’t tell them what you do, tell them who you are. “Chances are, your prospect already knows what services you provide. Instead, you need to let them know who you are, and you need to do it in a way that differentiates you from your competitors.” Talk about your approach to design, the things that excite you about your work, your niche specialties and expertise. You want to create a memorable picture in the listener’s mind.
As you tell your story, focus on outcomes, not services. Describe for the client how your designs have improved the lives of your clients, and helped them to solve problems in their home or business. Again, use specific, concrete examples that create a vivid image. Your goal is not to “sell” the prospective client on hiring you but to plant the seed that you can meet a need or fulfill a desire they may not even be aware of.
Still not sure how to best present yourself to a prospective client? At DMC, we’ve helped dozens of designers improve their marketing and sales skills. Contact us for a confidential consultation to discover how we can help you.