I recently read ‘The Designers Guide to Marketing and Pricing / How to Win Clients and What to Charge Them’ (by Ilise Benun & Peleg Top, 2008) . It was such a great read! If you’re a freelancer or small business owner in the design world I highly recommend it.
What really stuck out to me was a small section about how design has become a commodity and the only way to counter this is to add value to your service. If you’ve had the time to dig into the wonderful world of the internet you’ve probably realized that there are millions of other freelancers and small business owners out there—millions! It’s no secret that this is a competitive field. So the question here is how can YOU stand out?
Here are a few things you can do to add value to your service and ultimately stand out amongst the crowd:
- Know what your client is looking for and know what they find valuable. Is it quality, ease, a quick turnaround? Know what’s important to them and position yourself to deliver exactly that.
- Respond to them professionally, thoroughly, and with a bit of warmth. Not in cold, cryptic responses because you don’t have time to explain.
- Always deliver on time. If you cannot deliver on time, give them a reasonable heads up. If they’re really, really unhappy—bite the bullet and offer a discount.
- Show them you are an expert in your field. This puts them at ease and lets them know they’re in good hands. Sell peace of mind.
- Genuinely want the best for them. If you disagree with their design requests remind them that it’s only because you genuinely want the best for them. Politely point out why you disagree. If they’re not willing to listen, stand down. The client is always right—maybe just leave that one out of your portfolio ;).
- Really listen to their opinion and work together to find a solution.
- Send a thank you note or a small client gift. If you enjoyed working with them send a gift and write it off on your taxes.
- Take the lead. They want you to be in charge so that they can focus on other things. They’re busy people and you’re the expert, that’s why they chose you.
Hope these were helpful tips! I’d love to hear about some of the ways that you guys add value to your service! Is there anything you’d like to highlight, expand on, or add to the list?
Be Free is a series I created to share small business and freelance tips as well as my personal journey. My hope is that this series will inspire others to follow their passions and be less fearful of fleeing the cube in favor of freedom and—more importantly—working in pj’s.