Designers don’t sell cleverly crafted logos, eye-catching advertisements, or adorable animated characters. No one places an order for a professional book cover design on a whim. And, even the cleverest of salespeople could not convince someone to invest in a storefront banner if they don’t have a storefront. Why? Customers are motivated to purchase when a need arises for a product or service. And these needs are born out of a problem that needs solving.
You can’t sell ice to an Eskimo
There is a reason that “selling ice to an Eskimo” is a difficult feat–so difficult that this popular phrase is used to describe salespeople who can perform the miraculous. Why is it so hard to sell ice to someone who resides in the far Arctic? Because buying ice does not meet a need or present a solution to a problem. In order to be successful, an ice purveyor would have to demonstrate a way in which having more ice would solve a problem for their potential Northern client.
Freelance designers and design companies, likewise, need to identify how their products and services provide a solution to a problem that their clientele are experiencing.
Think like a customer
In order to understand your customer and their needs, you must stop focussing on yourself and the services that you offer. Instead, try to adopt your customer’s perspective.
For instance, imagine what it is like to be the sole proprietor of a struggling pet-grooming business. What problems might you be experiencing? Once you have taken on the viewpoint of your potential customer, you will be better able to identify and relate to their needs–an important first step in pinpointing solutions.
Traditionally, salespeople have focussed on selling their products. It is important to remember, however, that no matter how much you emphasize an ice cube’s excellent quality, superb taste, and glistening beauty, the Eskimo isn’t likely to buy. You have neglected to show him how your ice cubes solve a problem or meet a need.
Your aforementioned potential client, the struggling dog groomer, is having problems attracting clientele to her business. Through focussing on her specific needs you have gleamed a great deal of information. Her signage is poor and many people don’t even know that her business exists.
Maintaining a client focus has not only made this customer feel valued and listened to, but it has also equipped you with the ability to provide her with a solution to her problem. After all, your services can solve her signage problem and dramatically increase her company’s visibility.
Sell your solution
Once you’ve demonstrated that you empathize with your client, thoroughly understand their needs, and are willing to listen, your client will be much more receptive to your sales pitch. Just remember that you are not selling a product–you are selling a solution.
Now that you have established a rapport with your client, you now have the chance to communicate why your specific product or service is the right solution for them. Show them how your services uniquely meet their needs. And, remember to continue to view the process through your customer’s eyes.
Get them invested emotionally
When someone is presented with an urgent problem, they experience an emotional reaction. And emotions beg to be satisfied. For example, ask the dog groomer what will happen to their business if their “visibility” problem is not addressed. She will likely respond with something like “I will go out of business.” By pronouncing this truth, she will experiencing a sense of urgency and be more receptive to the solutions that your product presents.
Earn your worth
If you successfully show how your service–and only your service–can solve your client’s problems, they will be more willing to pay the price that you deserve. A customer who feels that their needs are being met is much less likely to price shop or sacrifice quality of service for a lower cost. This will do wonders in ensuring that you are properly financially rewarded for your expertise.
Once you understand that you are not selling design, but are selling solutions to customer needs, your entire approach to sales will change. And your business will dramatically increase. Selling ice to Eskimos will be a breeze.
What techniques do you use to sell solutions? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!