So You Want to Start Your Own Graphic Design Business: The Secret to Selling Your Services to Clients
The Sales Pitch
During the first two or three minutes of the call, you're going to shake hands and exchange pleasantries. Men and women alike should give a firm, confident handshake. If you are a man, ease off some on the handshake if the buyer is a woman. (We have delicate little hands that bruise easily!) During this short preliminary period, the buyer forms a crucial initial impression of you that influences the rest of the sales meeting. So smile, be friendly, be relaxed, be yourself; but be prepared to get down to business pretty quickly.
You're probably thinking that the next step is to give your big sales pitch, but guess what[md]this may shock you[md]the client is not interested in what you have to sell. That's right! He's not interested in what you have to sell; he's interested in what he needs to buy. So don't waste your time or the buyer's time on a sales presentation. I can hear you asking me now, "If there's no sales pitch, what's my next move?" This is where you start to use…(read these next words in your mind with an echo chamber effect)…The Secret to Successful Selling. And the secret is…(extended drum roll)…to ask questions and listen to the buyer. See. I told you anyone could do it. You ask the buyer what he needs and what problems he is trying to solve. You listen to what he tells you. As the buyer is talking, you should be taking notes. This tells the buyer that you are interested and serious about the project. It also will help you outline the scope of the project later.
You continue to ask pertinent questions to elicit as much information about his project as you can so you can fully understand his problems and needs and can assist him in coming up with solutions. For example, the buyer might tell you that his business is hidden by other buildings, and he needs to get more foot traffic. What service do you provide that would solve this problem? You could design a giant, killer sign that a person flips around in the air close to the buyer's location. Or you could design an old-fashioned, sandwich-board sign that a person wears while handing out a flyer (designed by you, of course) to passers-by.
During this interview process, you should be trying to build a rapport, establish a relationship, and make helpful suggestions to the buyer. Don't be afraid to give the client free information and help. The buyer will be buying you as much as he is buying your services. If the buyer feels comfortable with you, if you have things in common, if he feels like he can trust you, you are more likely to get the project. This whole process is generally referred to as consultative selling.