No matter how skilled you are... if your client doesn't perceive you as high value, they won't be willing to pay higher prices.
"Perception of value is more important than value itself."
- Seth Godin
This article will show you how to alter the way you convey your perceived value.
So you can validate higher prices for your future and existing projects.
When I first started my design business 6 years ago, I already had the skills to produce high-quality brand identities and websites.
Despite acquiring these skills at one of London's top creative agencies. My clients still weren't willing to pay me the rates I could see other similar-level designers were charging.
I became obsessed with what the best in the industry were doing to improve their perceived value.
I discovered that the way I was presenting myself across my whole brand was letting me down.
- My website was poorly designed and generic
- The way I spoke on calls lacked confidence and clarity
- I didn't have a clearly defined process
- I didn't offer a workshop of any kind
- I didn't showcase any proof of credibility
- I hadn't created consistency across all touch-points
- I hadn't focused on a niche and solved their business problems
- I didn't have a unique way of presenting my work
No wonder they weren't ready to pay $20-$30K for a brand and website.
So I got to work on amending all of the above.
Once I did, it’s not an exaggeration to say everything changed.
Not only were clients willing to pay these prices. But the whole dynamic of the client relationship changed.
They were leaning forward not leaning back.
They asked me questions.
They saw me as an expert.
It’s what Blair Enns calls ‘The Flip’
The client has gone from seeing me as just another designer. - To an expert practitioner that uniquely has the offering for exactly what they need.
Here’s how you can make the same transformation.
We will cover the following 3 aspects of how you present yourself
Let’s address the visual aspect of your business. Often the client's first impression of your brand.
"55 percent of people's first impressions are made up by what we see"
Ensure there is consistency in your brand across all touch-points.
This will convey a sense of consideration as your client moves between touch-points.
The way you can decide on your best approach here is first by understanding what you want to convey with your brand.
Or put another way. ‘What gut feeling do you want the client to have about your businesses’ - Marty Neumeier.
The best way to define this is with 4 brand keywords that will guide your designs.
To illustrate this, if you want to come across as:
Your brand will look very different to someone who's keywords are:
Once you have defined your 4 keywords - integrate brand elements that convey these. i.e. Font, Logo, Colours, Graphic style, Photography, Messaging, etc...
Ensure that you keep them consistent across all instances of your brand.
The consistency and clarity of your brand will exude an attention to detail that your client will feel subconsciously.
Don't do what 90% of designers do and have a basic portfolio site that looks like this:
Instead - use your design skills to produce something that showcases your abilities to the client.
At the extreme, I’ve seen portfolios that are so well designed that they don't even need examples of their client work.
Their portfolio speaks for itself.
This should be your aim.
The best way to do this is to use a site like Webflow to produce a custom-designed site.
See my site as an example of a Webflow built portfolio.
I will make a full post on how to create a killer portfolio soon. Stay tuned for that.
Fundamentally your portfolio should:
1. Showcase your unique offering
2. Mention your niche and how you solve their problem
3. Use animation/movement
4. Make it easy to get in touch with you
5. Show proof of credibility
6. Be designed so well it speaks for itself
Designing your email signature is an easy win, and it will appear on all email comms with your client.
The best way I have found to achieve this is using Google docs to design it, and paste it into Gmail.
Tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYJfnkCpK7Y
People make judgments on you based on your first impression.
In this digital world, your profile picture is often that first impression.
Do yourself a favour and get some professional pictures taken of you.
I can't overstate how valuable this asset will be for you across so many instances.
Cant afford a professional?
Someone you know probably has a good camera and can take a nice pictures of you. If not, look for friends of friends.
You may have a photo studio near you with good lighting. This will make all the difference.
Book in an hour there and take as many pictures as you can in different styles and poses.
This is how I took these pics.
Lighting is really the key to a great profile pic. You can take an amazing picture with just your phone camera if the lighting is right.
We've been programmed by evolution to notice movement. Utilise this by integrating animation into your brand.
People love video, animation, and movement.Showing your work in this way will increase your professionalism and bring more attention to your business.
Now let’s talk about your process:
This will be a huge factor in how the client perceives you.
If you don't have a clearly defined process this is a major red flag for clients.
So take a pen and paper and do the following:
Sketch out your ideal client process
Group into steps and stages (ideally 3, 5, or 7)
Include a workshop at the start (this conveys deep credibility and expertise)
If you don't know how to run workshops, check out my 1 hour workshop mini-course.
Go through and identify the benefit your client will gain from each stage of your process.
Once done, practice reciting your process until you can saying it succinctly and confidently.
Do this on the first call with a prospective client and witness the change in tone (aka 'The Flip').
Executing this properly will increase the odds that the client will want to work with you dramatically. - And increase how much they’ll be willing to pay.
Now let’s talk strategy.
If you haven't already. You should have chosen a niche industry you want to work for.
You can choose a niche with the following equation:
With your niche chosen. Use your understanding of their business to identify their main business problems.
Struggling to discover these problems? Doing a workshop with them will bring them to the surface.
Now add to your offering direct solutions to these problems.
Your client's want solutions to their problems. If you can provide these. You will become their favourite person. And you’ll be rewarded handsomely.
Across as many touch-points as possible, showcase as many of the following as possible:
Interspersing these throughout your brand will prove your credibility to the client.
Don’t underestimate the power of these.
Some examples of where you should mention these:
Get the social credibility out there.
Something as simple as ‘as appears in ‘X’’ on your website hero section can make a huge difference to your clients perception of your value.
1. Dial in your visuals across your:
- Brand execution
- Profile image
2. Define your process, and practice clearly and confidently articulating it.
3. Set up your strategy to focus on a niche industry and showcase your proof of credibility across all touch-points.
Everything that I have covered here can individually make a difference to your perceived value.
But when these all work in cohesion the effects are profound.
1. If you want to position yourself as an expert, offering workshops is the most effective path. I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:
→ The Brand Strategy Mini-Course: Learn how to start charging your clients for remote brand strategy workshops in this 1 hour mini-course.
2. If you're ready to take your workshop skills to another level:
→ The Remote Brand Strategy Workshop Masterclass: This comprehensive course will teach you my two-day workshop method that has allowed me to charge clients £30,000+ per project.
3. Work with me 1:1 to grow your one-person design business that enables your ideal life (Currently 2 spaces left)
I am a brand strategist and designer for small-mid sized tech startups. I will help you grow your dream one-person businesses so you can live with freedom & autonomy.
A free step-by-step guide to successfully running a remote design business. Discover where you are on the roadmap and follow the actionable steps to reach your next stage.
Become an expert brand strategist and take your design offering to a whole new level. This course will teach you my method for running a professional two day brand strategy workshop that will position you as an expert in your field.