The Power of Being There
So, you finally get to talk with a potential client, or they ask for your portfolio. Of course, this happens just after you’ve been looking at some of the amazing portfolios of creatives on the web, work that is just wonderful. “Aw, man!” you think, “I have so far to go! I’m embarrassed to even BE here!” It can be an absolutely crushing experience to look at the work of some of these designers, and then try to sell yourself as one. What they have created beats the stuffing out of our paltry doodles!
There is something to be said for showing up. Being the guy in the room, or at the other end of the phone or email. If I’m there, and I mean really THERE, we can do a lot of good without feeling like we need to compare ourselves to anyone else. We can listen to our client’s needs and come up with something that will satisfy their goals without being anyone else but ourselves. In fact, the very nature of our personal perspective can give us a leg up on all the others out there, and our perspective changes and aligns closely with the client’s when we listen carefully to what they say.
Let’s dig into this a bit more.
There are a lot of creative, talented folks out there, but if you have the attention of a potential client, you are in the best position to end up working with them. And it starts with listening. By getting your client to express themselves, and by carefully putting your eyes in their glasses, you can begin to see things from their perspective and that is exactly what is needed in order to be able to create a workable solution to their challenges.
How does one do that? Asking the right questions will get you well on the way. For example, what prompted the intended project? Is there a specific need or issue that needs to be addressed? What is the impact of this issue? What would it look like, in the client’s opinion, if this project was completely successful, a best-case snapshot? What does the client see as potential roadblocks to success?
These are all starter questions and will most likely prompt a deeper dive into the project. You will probably find that your client will welcome your questions if they are presented with a desire to see things from their point of view. They will be imbued with a sense of security that someone who just “gets it” is now handling the project, and that, along with your talent and ability, will head you in the direction of victory.
And all because you were the one there. Really there. Treat your clients like you would want to be treated, and you will build not just a client base, but a list of solid relationships from which to work in the future.
Thanks for your time, and please share your comments and experiences.