Stop Selling Logos
I was an 80’s kid. At the time my favorite action figure brand sold a to-scale aircraft carrier that could hold up to six jets! Santa was visiting soon and I was ready to get my very own aircraft carrier. It had elevators, a command center, secret compartments, four whole pages of self adhesive decals, and came with its own exclusive action figure. It was seven feet and six inches long, six inches shorter than my childhood bedroom. It was glorious! And I was told that we couldn’t afford it.
But that’s okay because that same action figure brand also sold a toy F-14 Tomcat. It had firing rockets, retractable landing gear, a cockpit the fits two action figures, an exclusive pilot action figure, two whole pages of self adhesive decals, and an ejection seat that would deploy a working parachute that would carry your action figure safely back down to earth where he could rejoin the fight on the battlefield. It was awesome! But, it turns out we also could not afford it.
Then, I learned that Santa may just be able to afford some action figures if I could submit a prioritized list to my parents, his ambassadors. I gleefully scribbled the names of my favorite characters. It was a great Christmas morning indeed!
There are some services you offer that you your clients will not be able to afford, and that’s okay. Your goal is to offer something they choose to afford. Clients choose to afford things they value. Offer something they value and they’ll become a paying client. They’ll have already done all the mental justification required to buy your service, all you have to do is ask for it.
Offer something they value and the sale becomes easy.
So, what do they value?
One of your jobs as a creative professional is to uncover what your client values. Most times you’ll be approached because “I want a logo.” Whenever you hear this statement, a smart reply is, “Maybe so, let’s find out for sure.” Then, follow with a series of questions that uncover their motivation to seek you out in the first place.
Your potential client has a business problem they are hoping you can solve. They’ve come to you with a self-diagnosis of a logo when they may need something else entirely. You don’t know what they need or how to help until you both dig further into their problem. Help your client understand why they need you. It’s as important as defining what they need to achieve their goal.
You don’t sell logos, you sell a means to a higher bottom line. You sell money in the form of loyal customers. You sell a plan that helps new customers become loyal customers, faster.
Designers help their clients’ customers to trust them with their money faster.
To become invaluable to your client, articulate this truth using their industries terminology. Use their language to articulate your value.
Once they see the value of your solution, it’s time to talk about how to pay for your solution. Base the price of your expertise on a percentage of the projected increase to your clients bottom line. What!? Yeah, let’s break that idea down.
How much money do they stand to make from the things you create? Charge a percentage of that money. Doing so is called value-based pricing and it makes the most sense for both of your businesses.
Calculating your price hinges on learning how your client makes money. If they don’t want to share that information, don’t work with them. When they get tired of wasting money on pretty things that don’t move the needle they’ll realize your work is worth the price. If they never do, you were probably better off not to work with them anyway.
Once you know how they make money you can project how much more your work can help them earn. Look for ways to help create enormous value and propose to get paid on that value. Work together to determine a target dollar figure you’ll both be aiming to hit. Then, base your fee off a percentage of that dollar figure.
Clients that value branding already know that what you do is worth far more than the fees you charge them.
You’re in the business of fixing client problems by creating solutions that add to their bottom line. Working to create real value for your clients is fun! I’ve heard it said that money can’t buy happiness but happiness can sometimes create money. I want you to have fun, find/create value, and help make happy clients.
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