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How to Build Lasting Success in Your Graphic Design Business: Your Quickstart Gameplan

More than ever, KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST (KLT) are epically crucial for graphic design businesses.

Why?

Clients who need thoughtful, caring, talented designers have many options to "get the job done" (from DIY to below-market-value job sites). They may feel tempted to take one of those lower-cost options to save money or get their "pretty thing" done ASAP.

When this happens, they are either:

  1. Lacking an understanding of the power of good creative
  2. Knowing but choosing to dismiss #1 

We know it isn't just about the "pretty thing."

We know that slowing down and working strategically with a creative professional gives focused thought to their needs and, therefore, better results.

Deep down, the client knows it, too, but it's human nature sometimes to take the easy route. (There will always be those folks, and that's ok.)

However, I believe it's our responsibility to our creative industry to remind the world of the value we bring: Professional creatives are problem-solvers whose work can yield the most effective results for clients. 

 

We make this message known, in part, by going back to the basics of building a business relationship, which starts with Know, Like, and Trust:

KNOW

People need to KNOW who you are and what you're up to, or they can't hire you. This doesn't mean you must attend uncomfortable in-person networking events (though you can if you want!)

Start by emailing your current colleagues, clients, friends, and family - seriously!

Let them know you are...

-providing X services

-to solve X problems

-so that they get X result for their business/organization

-and you're inviting X number of organizations to work with you in the month of X.

Focus your message on what your problem-solving and creative efforts can do for their business.

Repeat this process monthly (don't stop after once or twice - this is where most quit!)

If you want some scripts to get you started, you can grab them here.

 

LIKE

They must "like" you. Now, I've struggled with the meaning of this one. In practical terms, "like" is an alignment of values, meaning we have something in common.

Hopefully, you like each other and enjoy working together, but that often isn't apparent until you've worked together on a project or two.

If your personality and work ethic come out in your messaging, social, website, and correspondence, this will build the "like" factor with the right folks for you and leave the bad fits behind (a good thing).

Start by writing down the values you bring to your work.

For example, for my business, they are Quality, Integrity, and Commitment.

I strive to...

  • Deliver high-quality work (approaching projects with dedicated care and thoughtfulness)
  • Manage projects with integrity (I do what I say I'll do)
  • Ensure clients know I'm here for them in the future (if they need me)

I'm not perfect at all of these all the time, but I do my best, and these values come through (hopefully) in all correspondence, whether private or public. 

 

TRUST

This one begins even BEFORE you connect with a potential client. Maybe they check out your website and your social accounts.

  • Is it clear that you are a dedicated professional?
  • Are your services and ways you can help prominently communicated?
  • Would YOU want to learn more about you or hire you?
  • If a lead reaches out, are you timely, helpful, and professional with your response?
  • If that lead turns client, do you have a straightforward onboarding process?

These may seem like little things, but how you handle each, either builds or erodes trust. 

 

Here's the path I want all of us creatives to focus on in this world of DIY and cheap options:  

👉Relationship + Great Work & Stellar Communication = Trust  >>>  More Work + Referrals  =  More Profit + Never Having to "Sell" Because You Are In High Demand!

 

How are you working on your KLT this week?

We are in this together. Thanks for reading! 

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