by Calvin Cox on March 19, 2009
1) You Provide A Great Product or Service That Cannot be Matched By Your Competition Simply put, excel at what you do. Don’t settle for being second. The only thing that stops you from being the best in your industry is that you stop trying to be the best. 2) Your Services Are Underpriced… Intentionally In this competitive market, value is key. Providing a great product or service that’s noticeably worth more than your offering is important. Be careful not to undervalue your product or service by trying to low ball the industry. The goal here is to excel in your service while maintaining a reasonable price. Note: Low balling your industry can backfire on you, where your customers think that your services may not be up to par with someone who is charging more. Find the sweet spot for your product or service.
I’m not telling you to undervalue your expertise, what I’m simply saying is to provide much more quality and service than the industry norm, or what your clients expect.
3) Your Projects Are Completed Earlier Than Projected
The truth is clients want their projects done yesterday. Once you’ve given the client a date of completion, that date is etched in their minds. Delivering the project on that completion date- in the client’s mind, you’ve done your job. Anytime after that date you’re late and have broken your ‘brand’ promise – not so good for business. If you are early, by even a day or two, this gives the client another reason to toot your horn for you. They will tell their colleagues and friends that you are professional, efficient and the go-to guy for your type of design services. Even if ‘early’ was only a day early. I think businesses still underestimate the power of word of mouth even with all of the social technology around us.
4) You Have Personalized and Knowledgeable Customer Service
Personally, customer service is on top of my list of keys to being successful in this industry. I am a HUGE fan of good customer service. Not only good but rather great customer service. No one remembers good- people tend to remember great and exceptional, and of course bad.
Case in point: I remember hiring a design company to do a project, and one day I phoned the account manager to get some information. That person was completely incapable of answering basic technical questions about my project. She had to refer me to the designer, who of course was not available to talk. Great customer service can make up for shortcomings in other areas in your design business process (hopefully there are none 🙂 )
5) Your Design Business Uses Cutting Edge Technology – Utilizing The Most Current and Relevant Tools in Your Industry.
When a client asks for you to do a project for them, they have already assumed that you’ll be using the most current technology or process, unless otherwise stated. Anything less is a strike against your company product or service, Period. You should keep up with your industry, getting left behind is not an option.
6) You Are an Expert/ Thought Leader in Your Industry
Clients hire you because you can do something they can’t do themselves; otherwise, they would do it themselves. They also hire you because they perceive that you are an expert at what you do. And as an expert you should have the knowledge to communicate intelligently about topics pertaining to your industry, current and future technologies, illustration styles, trending logo designs, etc, etc. And please, be able to provide answers to questions on why you’ve decided to use the Anivers font instead of Helvetica .
7) You Are Actively Involved In Your Client’s Success
There is nothing better than a designer who takes the time to learn about a client’s business. Not simply what the company does, and who their clients are, but their brand promise, inspiration and maybe the direction a company is looking to go into 3 to 5 years from now. The more you learn about your clients, the more information you’ll have to satisfy their needs. And oh yeah, you’ll actually start building a relationship with them. Maybe a relationship that can grow into a “business-friendship” – ultimately giving you the upper hand on future projects.
What are some things you’ve done that have pushed your company ahead of the competition?
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