Today, I listened to a fascinating podcast from entrepreneur, mentor and business consultant Errol Gerson on the Futur’s podcast (posted below). When constantly trying to improve upon and learn new design skills and software techniques, it is easy to put actually the “selling” work to clients to the bottom of our agenda. Although I would whole-heartedly recommend listening to this podcast, here are 3 strategic lessons that I think are most important when strategically trying to sell your design work and improve your career success.
- Selling is simply doing someone a favour
I used to squirm someone said they were a ‘salesman,’ because I had a negative view of the job without really knowing why – first thoughts for me were that they were liars, untrustworthy and manipulative. Errol Gerson says when he asks what his students what they think of the word, they have similarly negative thoughts pop in to their head. However, he then asks his students what they do. The conversation goes like this:
Student: I’m an illustrator
Errol Gerson: No you’re not, you’re a sales man
Student: No, I’m not!
Errol Gerson: You may make beautiful illustrations, but if you can’t sell what you do, no one is going to want to buy from you, and then you won’t be an illustrator for long. So you’re ultimately a salesman.
An important lesson we can all learn is that selling is NOT about manipulation. Selling is about making other people as excited as you are about something, and doing them a favour. Remember that. Don’t be afraid of selling – it is actually a beautiful thing to show someone why they should be excited about something you do or make!
This is called “reframing” your thinking!
2) Investment vs Cost
Errol Gerson says he never uses the word ‘cost,’ because cost suggests that once you’ve made that purchase, that money leaves the clients’ account never to return.
It is vital to emphasise to your client that if you are doing a re-brand for them, for example, it is an investment. Why? Because if they are doing a re-brand for example, they are likely to want to increase sales which are declining, you explain the problems that they have told you, and explain why the re-brand you are offering is modern, fresh and similar enough to the old logo so customers recognise it, but vitalised for the young target market they are aiming for.
When saying the word investment, they see the word return.
When they see the word cost, they see the word loss.
3) Ask your client for a referral!
Errol Gerson notes that 90% of clients are referrals. This is mind blowing. You are much better off nurturing your clients so that they think highly of you and talk to their friends about you. If you get a client, ask them for a referral. This can then be added to your social media accounts and will give you social authority within your field.
One way of nurturing clients that Errol Gerson talks about is doing birthday cards for his clients. He gives a birthday card to them written by a calligrapher and this means he loyal, repeat clients because they feel special AND they then tell their friends (more referrals…)
4) Take small steps.
People always try to make big leaps and compare themselves to others that are more experienced than them, with more social media followers, with higher paying clients. It is vital to remember that you can’t run before you can walk.
Although it sounds cliche, growth comes from baby steps. Social scientists call this the “success of approximations,” but you need to try and make something better than the last thing you made every time you make something. Suddenly, if you have been doing this consistently, you will be amazed at how far you have come and you will be a power house of information/skill!
Errol Gerson uses a great phrase called ‘analysis paralysis,’ to describe the inaction you have when overthinking. Keep taking baby steps and you will be amazed at how far you have come.
Here is some more Errol Gerson wisdom if you are interested in more content by the man!
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