You're Not A Commodity
Standing Out from the Crowd
Here’s a sample scenario that might be fairly familiar to you:
A potential client reaches out asking “Could you send me your rates to do XYZ for my company?” You send out a followup email - “Sure thing! That would cost you this much.” You might hear back, you might not. The reality is that most of these potential clients are simply price shopping. They’re looking around for the cheapest possible option out there. They’re not in the market for creativity, or worse yet… value, they’re looking for a commodity.
Stop the creativity-as-a-commodity mindset and get out of this trap. Instead of trying to price your work as low as you possibly can, you need to focus on bringing value to your clients. As a creative entrepreneur you’re not a commodity dealer, you’re selling something completely unique. They can’t go to a store and buy what you have to offer, because your unique creative perspective can’t be replicated anywhere else!
As creative professionals, there are two key ways you can bring value to your clients. You start by 1) Identifying Their Needs and 2) Showing Them How You’ll Meet Those Needs.
These two key steps are basic, but they will make a huge difference. Not only will they help you to create better work for your clients, they’ll help you convert prospects into clients as they see clear value in your work.
Let’s dig a little deeper:
1. Identify Their Needs
Instead of assuming that you know what they need, or even just accepting your client’s own explanation of those needs, take the time to dig a little deeper. Ask questions, and get to know your clients. In doing so, you’ll find that most clients don't know exactly what they want or even what they need.
In fact, it’s likely that their marketing department focuses on the administrative side of marketing, and that they don’t really have anyone on staff who can handle the creative end of things. Again, here’s your chance to bring value! It’s your job to help the identify what those “wants” and “needs” are. You are the professional. This is your home turf.
Here at freelancekit, we’ve designed a questionnaire to help you accomplish this. Instead of trying to cover it all in a series of emails or phone calls, the questionnaire takes all the relevant questions you’ll need to ask, and places them in one convenient location. The questionnaire also serves as an excellent “first step” in this process. By reviewing their answers, you can quickly and easily vet potential clients to identify who will truly be a good fit for your business. This process will also help you to identify clients that you’d rather avoid.
Overall, this is a great way for you to bring value to your clients, but it doesn’t ultimately benefit them until the second step:
2. Show Them How You’ll Meet Their Needs
Clear communication is a critical part of any project. Once you’ve helped your clients to identify their needs, you need to clearly show them how you’ll be able to meet those needs. It’s often easy for us to get a clear picture of what the client wants or needs in our head, but that’s not enough. Don’t just tell them that you’ll be able to do it - instead of asking them to simply take your word for it, you need to clearly show your client how you can meet those needs.
In doing so, you’re showing them why it's worth investing in you and your services, even if you’re more expensive than their other options. They know that you’ll create high quality products that will really stand out. Help them identify their pain points, and then help them meet those needs. If you follow these two steps, you’ll stand out from the crowd.
As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t get caught up in the race to the lowest possible price, trying to compete with the cheapest possible options. Instead, you need to be focusing on how you can offer them a unique experience. The client needs to know that you care about them, that they're being heard, and that you're on their team.
That’s how you will stand out from the crowd! Despite the advances in technology, it’s still all about relationships. People buy from people, not companies. So take the time. Build that relationship. Identify their needs, and then show them how you’ll fix those problems, and why you’re the one for the job. Your clients will recognize the value you bring to the table, and will react accordingly. They’ll stop treating your work like a commodity, and treat it like an investment.