Talking about yourself and your own work is easy, but did you know it’s one of the biggest mistakes that designers make? I know, sounds stupid, just stay with me here ok?Let’s clear this up, it isn’t that your clients don’t care about your work, they do, especially when they’re looking to you for design expertise. What they care about more are their own problems. Your job is to help them solve their problems. The key to getting a client’s attention is to address their problems first and then talk about your work as a solution. Dig into their problems, don’t just accept “I don’t like our website” follow up with “why don’t you like it” or “how can we make you love your website”. You heard me, your self-promotion should be rooted in the needs, problems and pain points of your ideal clients. Once you know all their problems, that’s when you can come in with your design and creative skills and show your way to solve their problems. By identifying and addressing the issues they care most about, they are much more likely to respond to your self-promotional efforts. Your client can have multiple issues/problems so I will go over a few with you.Alright, now let’s break this shit down.
The most common problems that a client has, commonly referred to as “needs” are usually directly related to design. For example, no matter the business your client has, every type of business needs an up to date website. Actually, an outdated website can be embarrassing and cause minor problems because of its looks. When someone realizes the website is ugly AND it’s not responsive and viewable across all screens, is when the problem becomes serious. If you speak to solutions not only an outdated design but also the unresponsiveness you will definitely catch a client's attention.
Some other problems are more related to expertise (or...no offense to a client...a lack of). I mean, let's look at it this way: a marketing director for a financial services company may not know any designers who have worked with the compliance issues you find within financial services. If you have a knowledge of the financial services market, then you can speak to that lack of expertise and position your services as the solution to that problem.See what we’re doing here? No? Okay, let me continue.
Sometimes, the problems that your client is having may have nothing at all to do with design. For lack of better words, a flaky freelancer (a designer who doesn’t follow through, can’t make contact with when needed, or misses deadlines). The biggest thing to remember to do is to ALWAYS promote yourself as a reliable designer. This is the most valuable trait to have. It’s simple; have good time management, respect and never miss a deadline. I promise you’ll be their hero.Okay, now do you get it? The bottom line is that once you know what keeps your clients up at night, all you have to do is identify those problems, address them in your self-promotion and present your services as the cure.If there’s anything you take away from this post let it be this: NEVER put your skills before a client's needs. ALWAYS make sure they feel like they come first (even if there are 5 other clients in front of them) and ALWAYS meet your deadlines.