Deciding who to work with as your designer is often times a daunting task for clients. They don’t really know you, they don’t really know how you’ll work, and they don’t know if they should really trust you. They really have just a few interactions to make their judgement by and then eventually they have to take a leap of faith, one way or the other.
They have to decide – should I or shouldn’t I commit to this person? Should I or shouldn’t I hand over thousands, and thousands … and thousands, of my hard earned money to this person that I don’t really know at all? Should I or shouldn’t I give them complete access to my home, maybe including keys so they can come and go as they please, even when I’m not here?
If you think about it, it’s a big commitment. So big that upon thinking about it, would you feel comfortable doing this with a complete stranger? Maybe not. I certainly know I’d be hesitant.
Find Out Why Your Clients Hire You
So, what to do? How do you make someone feel more comfortable working with you? How can you help them feel more comfortable hiring you? How can you make someone feel completely ok with making the commitment to you and your firm? Find out why your current clients hired you – and then slather that information on to every marketing material you’ve got.
Talking to your current clients about why they hired you is one of the key pieces of information that you want, and need, to know. Now when you’re first starting your work with someone you’re probably already asking them where they found you, often on the screening call. You understandably want to know, where are these people contacting me even finding out about my firm? How did they hear about us? Where do I need to focus my marketing efforts? But what you may be forgetting to do later on, is find out why they reached out to you in the first place, and why they ended up hiring you.
If you think about it though, isn’t that what you really want to know, more than almost anything – especially with your ideal clients? Find out why they chose you, over hiring no designer at all? Or over hiring any other designers they may have reached out to?
If you knew why they called you and then why they hired you, imagine what you could do with that kind of information. Rewrite your website copy, focus your social media efforts, rewrite marketing materials, adapt your initial screening call and initial consultation conversations, etc. all around why other clients have chosen to hire you. All around why clients can feel comfortable handing over those checks, handing over those signed contracts, or even just picking up that phone for the first time.
Answer the Questions in a Prospect’s Mind
When clients are searching around for a designer, they’re looking first to find a designer whose style they like. But past that, they’re scouring your website copy, social media postings, etc. to decide if you sound like someone they want to work with. They’re looking for a reason to call you, or not call you. They’re looking for you to tell them what they want to hear – why you’re the right fit, why you’re the one for them, why you and them are meant to be.
Now imagine you know exactly what to say to help them feel that connection. Imagine that you don’t even have to come up with the words, but instead can let your current clients do all of the talking and word smithing. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?
Moving someone from knowing about you, to searching you out online, to contacting you, to paying you for an initial consultation, to signing a contract with you and then handing over a retainer check, is no small mountain to climb. In fact, it’s a very large one. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of know how, and a lot of skill. But knowing what makes clients move through this process with you, will make it a heck of a lot easier.
What Pushed Your Clients Over the Deciding Edge?
So once you’ve completed a project with a client, especially your favorite ones, set up a time with them to ask and find out – what made them initially contact you in the first place? And then ask, once they spoke with you on the screening call and then met you at the initial consultation, what made them hire you? What was it that pushed them over the edge? What was the deciding factor?
Once you find this information out, take it and run. Create a “How We Can Help” section on your Services page where you use the words, phrases, or even quotes from your clients about why they not just wanted help with their design project, but why they wanted your help specifically.
On your “About” page, use your client’s words to brand who you are as a firm, how you relate to your clients, and what they can expect from working with you as well. In blog posts or newsletters that you send out, write about why and how you assist clients using the same wording that your clients used. In your initial conversations on the screening call and initial consultation when you’re sharing the value that you bring, do the same.
Don’t Assume You Know Why Clients are Hiring You
Why clients are hiring you may be entirely different than what you’re currently assuming. You may think its simply because they need help and they like your style, so they reached out. When in reality, it may be that yes, they liked your style, but they really hired you because you were the first to respond to them, were organized, warm, and fulfilled all of the promises you made. A very different, and much more specific, answer than “we liked your style.”
So take the time and have the bravery to ask why – why they called you, why they hired you, why they wanted you. Their answer may just be your golden ticket to success.
Write in the comments below, do you ever find out why clients hired you and were you surprised at what they said? I’d love to hear!
And if you’re ready to focus on providing an exceptional client experience to all of your new and current clients this year, check out the listing of guides and resources available to you here!