If you don’t know me by now, I’m a graphic designer by trade. I ran my own small print design agency before moving into web design and, eventually, started Web123. I now manage over 20 people, and my role has shifted from working in the business to working ON the business. If you’re a creative type like me, you’d think that wouldn’t be much fun, right? But what I absolutely LOVE is the fact I’m now in a position to mentor designers who are struggling to get on top of their business…. Just like I was.
A question I’m always asked is: how do I get more profitable?
There are many answers to this question, some of which are industry-specific. But there are some basic tenets of good business which can apply to you as well, no matter what business you’re in.
And this is one of them: Never give your client (too many) options.
I was tempted to say NO options, but come now, it’s 2013 and people expect some choice. But don’t give them every option under the sun. And I’ll explain why. When you’re trying to upsell your existing client or to gain new business, you don’t always have to be the cheapest, or even the most technically gifted at what you do. What you DO need is to build that rapport, and earn their trust.
I learned that trust is NOT gained by giving clients every possible solution under the sun.
Sure, it seems helpful, but it actually hurts your business and your bottom line. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at what would happen if a client came to me for advice and I gave them a big long list of options. There are three big no-nos that instantly come to mind. Firstly I’d be pushing my client into a state of ‘analysis paralysis’. There’s a LOT of options in the digital world. But ultimately my experience tells me most aren’t worth a damn… but does my client know that? Probably not. Do they have the time to research and understand WHY I’ve come to realise this? Nope. So they’ll put a herculean effort into researching it all, and who knows how long that will take… and who knows what outcome they’ll choose. But I can almost guarantee that their choice isn’t going to include you. Most likely they’ll be overwhelmed and they’ll put it all in the ‘too hard’ basket. And that’s really bad for your business. Secondly, even if they can make their way through all the options, I’m still creating a raft of new objections because now they have too much information without the wisdom of experience to tell them what’s important and what isn’t. Unless they want to become web experts they don’t need the headache, and neither do I! Thirdly, if I gave a client a huge list of options I’d be instantly taking myself and my expertise out of the picture. I’d be asking the client, who doesn’t have my knowledge, to make choices they aren’t qualified to make. I’d be forcing them to focus on the tiny details, and forget about the most important part, which is choosing WHO to work with. What’s more, by me not offering them a single solution, and by that I mean the BEST solution for them, it subconsciously tells the client I’m not confident in what I know. And who’d hire me then? Can you see where I’m coming from?
“I don’t offer my clients any more than two solutions. I know my craft and I know my expertise is what they’re really paying me for.”
So I’ll talk to new clients about what they’re hoping to achieve and I’ll fact find.
Then I’ll present them with something I believe is exactly what they need, even if it’s not what they thought they needed. Sometimes it’s a lot more expensive, but mostly it’s a lot cheaper because I know what works and what is just expensive hot air (and gee there’s a lot of THAT in my industry). Ultimately the price doesn’t matter, it’s that you’re giving them the RIGHT solution. That’s the sort of ‘no holds barred’ service that’ll make you a standout no matter what industry you’re in. So in summary my fellow ABN’ers, have the courage and the confidence to put your expertise on the line. Have the courage to tell your client what they need, plain and simple. Sure, offer an option A and an option B if you think it’s warranted, but leave it at that. See what they say. If you’ve built that rapport and trust you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their response. Cheers, Bianca