Many potential clients have approached me over the years and blatantly told me they couldn’t afford me, but when they can they’d give me a call. At first, that used to upset me because I felt that I was missing out on clientele and money to be made. But, as I’ve grown in my business and in design, I see the reason why that was one of the best things I could have been told by someone. Here’s why:
- My brand is making a statement before I even open my mouth
- I’ve set the bar
- My work speaks to luxury
- My professionalism and value is obvious
My branding is one of the best things I’ve spent money on in starting my business. Although expensive, it set the tone for the type of company I’ve always wanted. It tells my audience that I represent what I preach. My tagline and my logo work together in attracting the right type of clients before I even market to them. Braizen is an expert branding company that I used to create my logo and initial marketing materials. If I could encourage small startups on where to first spend their money, it would be on branding. Find a local branding company instead of someone you know that does logos for $150. Research some of your favorite brands and find out where they went to create a brand that you love. And finally, realize the type of company you want to be before you even begin to market to your ideal client. Branding does half of that even before you write your first copy.
The bar that I’ve set is already high. When I first started my business, I had no idea I had a luxurious type of aesthetic. I had to learn that and ultimately be told that. I do have high-end taste and I do have an aesthetic that isn’t attainable for everybody. Well, I’m not designing for the mass. I’m designing for those that take their homes seriously, those that will love design for their homes and those that pride themselves on being busy individuals who aim to have a comfortable luxurious home. That’s how I’ve set my bar. I went after what I wanted to do first and let those clients come to me. Now that the bar is set, I don’t have to dumb my services down because the bar is so high and my deliverables are high enough that when potential clients come in, they know what to expect from the get-go.
My work speaks to luxury. I work with all types of clients with various budgets but they know at the end of the day that I will produce a comfortable luxury that you won’t get from anyone else. And, that I have the portfolio that says luxury. Now, the secret to that is also meeting the client where they are and giving them a piece of what I have to offer, no matter the price point. Now, as a professional I have a minimum budget that I will work with and I also make known that luxury isn’t just a price point. Luxury really is a feeling. It’s what the space says to you rather than how much everything costs.
When clients first come to me and they have gotten through the branding, my bar being set high and my portfolio, they have decided that I am the one for them. For me, it’s a privilege to go into people’s homes and create something specifically for them. The fact that I’ve pulled them into my world for their specific need is what excites me. So, as soon as they meet me, I bring my professionalism along. Many creatives, myself included, are so artsy sometimes that we forget that everyone isn’t our friend. This is a client who is paying for a service. I treat them that way. That puts everyone at ease and makes the client on boarding process through to installation, seamless. I’m professional, available and my value is known from the beginning. No surprises here. From my branding down to the consultation, what you see is what you get and people are willing to pay for that. Clients want what you have because they like what your brand says to them. You have something that is uniquely you and that intrigues potential clients and converts them to paying clients. Have I had clients that are flaky, unresponsive and unreliable? Of course I have. That comes with the territory of running a business. But, I also am able to screen those clients and before anything gets too deep and I’ve wasted my time, my process weeds them out and I’m left with serious inquiries only.
Every design firm is different but these secrets are what I’ve learned along the way. What are some of your secrets that work for you in your business or everyday life? How do you convey who you are to your audience?
Join the Facebook Group for all of your burning design questions and leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite business secrets are! Best of luck!