How to sell as a creative – here are four tips to help you out!. Some weeks ago, I reached out to a couple of Facebook groups that I’m a member of. The groups are consisting of people running their own business and people working with e-commerce. I asked them one single question – how do you want to be approached by me, as a photographer (creative), when offering my services.
This is one of my steps to become better at selling my services to potential clients. You can read more about that here. Here are some of the best tips, ideas and take aways that I got from the very informative and kind members of the group on how to sell as a creative.
Packaging a personal offer for the specific client
It was one thing that stood out among all the answers that I received – package your service/offer towards the specific client. Most businessowners, marketing managers and project managers get contacted by a dozen photographers, designers and filmmakers every week offering their services. Often with a generic mail that has been sent out to many different prospects.
“I’m not interested in your services if I don’t have a need for them. Before contacting me with you offer, identify my needs that I might not have seen myself. Then make a beautiful package of your offer – all personal for my business.”
There is something about this that is worth listening to. Because, why would you want to make business with someone who is treating you just like another fish in the sea by sending the same e-mail to everyone? By doing some research and actually analyze, in my case the images, and put together an idea on how my service and imagery can help their business with some on-point examples. Like “here are some examples of previous work I did for a client in the same industry and by working this or that way they got this value and they were able to do this and that”. NEVER EVER bash on their current work displayed.
“The first contact must be done in a way that doesn’t feel like spam. As we get several e-mails from all over the world from people selling their service. If you contact me I want, without fuzz, know what you can do for my business. Strait on point and don’t sugarcoat it.”
The business packages
One person replied with that I should offer three diffrent kind of standard packages (small, medium and large). I know that wedding-photographers and family/newborn photographers use these kinds of offers for their clients. As I share office with a digital agency specializing in e-Commerce and providing services in hosting, managing and building online stores the package kind of offers is a natural way for them as well.
But for me as a one-man creative business, I have a hard time to visualize what my packages would look like. All my request and current jobs are all different from the next one. But it can be something for me to create and try out when selling as a creative person. Everything that makes the decision easier for a potential client is good.
Make relationships not sales
I think this as well is a very important insight. Especially if you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your client to gain recurrent jobs on a weekly/monthly basis. By showing the marketing manager that you are a creative that really care about your clients and their success and not only for the invoice at the end. It’s this kind of relationship that makes you get recommended to others in the managers network of contacts.
“The one who learns to build relations instead of just selling something is the one who will succeed.”
“Cooperate with business that often use your kind of service and offer a discount for every client they can bring you.”
This is one of the best things you can do to get jobs as a creative. For example, if you are partnering up with a digital agency that builds websites, a brand-new website for a medium sized business is a big investment. To add the service of new images to design the site with the offer, is very easy and a great extra service for the agency to provide. As their client already is doing an investment they are more likely to spend a few extra bucks to make it top notch – with your images, illustrations or video!
Transparency with cost and expected outcome
To be honest. I think the time where businesses pay a huge amount of money to create a campaign where they only receive a few selected images is over. I heard many marketing managers (through the years) talk about how much of their budget goes to create the main campaigns for the year (10 000 of dollars) and they only receive say a selected 5-10 images from it. I understand how this kind of deals worked before – our way of communicating was different and especially at a slower phase. Now days, we use content (in various forms) that’s is used and outdated within a few weeks – at the most!
“Make it SIMPLE! For me, the biggest no-go is when the price and outcome is fuzzy and unclear”.
What I do is that I maximize the amount of images I get from a single product. For example, I shoot a lot of design and interior products for Linum Design. When I take an image of a product, lets say a pillow, it’s so easy to take a few steps to the side, go closer or find a new angle. Just because an image has several approaches to it doesn’t mean the quality is less and only one image is useable. It means much more value for my client in a minimum effort for me.
I also always have a fixed price (in 99% of the cases). Because it’s very easy for the client to know the cost and can plan it according to their budget. Instead of dabbling with expected hours and such. I’m also very clear on what the client can expect as an outcome.
Transparency and trust building are everything.
Other valuable bits and pieces when selling as a creative
”Show that an image has several different uses”
An easy step to make the job easier for your client. Deliver the edited images (I do TIFF and jpeg) then add separate folder for Social Media where you have downsized the images for each platform they use; (Facebook 2200px long side) and Instagram (1350 long and 1080 wide) for example.
“Don’t ramble on and talk too much. Be precise and be on topic.”
“Make sure you are talking to the person that makes the decisions for the service you are offering. If you contact needs to ask their boss, try to get a meeting with them both. That will give you a better chance to land the deal and a new client”.
“Make sure your target group can afford your services”.
There you have it! How to sell as a creative – with four solid tips and some great information on how do approach a potential client!