I’ve been on hiatus for a while with my personal blogging, and I don’t have a good excuse for why. Maybe it was the holidays, maybe it was new clients that were more important than this blog, or maybe I just didn’t manage my time in the best way. Either way, I’m back.
While my blogs are typically aimed at young designers/creatives, I’m pretty sure this one’s a no-brainer for anybody doing business.
When you know your stuff, you don’t have to be a salesman nearly as much, and sometimes I hate being a salesman. Believing in yourself is just as much about being internally confident as it is studying to get confident. I’m assured in my skills and abilities because I’ve put in the work. I’ve read the books, the blogs, have the success (and failure) stories, and I’ve studied the things I’m trying to sell.
Being a salesman is one of the hard but sometimes rewarding parts of this job. Whether you’re with a client as a freelancer or a small team within an agency or in-house design department, you’ll have to sell your ideas at some point. Meaning, you’ll have to explain why it’s a good a idea, how you plan to execute, and ultimately you’ll have to get buy-in from someone one day. Being confident helps improve sales, even if that confidence is manufactured at first, it’ll come with time.
I don’t really remember what I said, but I know I thought, “*light bulb* why wait?”
This is difficult for people that are more introverted. It’s also difficult for people whom have a very laid back personality. It changes with my surroundings, but overall, I’m a pretty quiet guy. I don’t go out
much ever. I like to be in the background. I like my privacy and really respect that of others. I just don’t like being sold to, and I really make an effort to treat people how I like to be treated.
So how am I supposed to pay the bills? Get over it.
It’s bigger than that, but it starts by really living out the fact that I’m not trying to sell them on this website or that logo. I’m trying to help them achieve a goal. I know the goal because I ask them a ton of questions that help me figure it out. Then I know that my expertise, combined with a genuine effort to help, is going to be what wins me the project (as long as they can afford it, but that’s another blog altogether).
Your expertise will speak for itself when you get a client on the phone or in a coffee shop to start discussing their project. They’ll start asking you questions in response to all of yours, and if you can answer them, cool. If not, be confident enough to say, I’m not sure, but I’ll get you an answer by tomorrow AM, or whatever the case may be. That confidence goes a long way. Being confident helps improve sales, simple as that. But remember, it’s bigger than the sale like I mentioned in this blog.
I can vividly remember one spring afternoon in 2011; I was in my Adobe Illustrator class at the community college. I was sitting in a computer lab full of iMacs next to a guy named Tizoc, and we were working on creating a logo for ourselves. We sat there, both of us looking ahead at our computers and talking to one another about the day we start freelancing, or even bigger, have our own agency. We talked about the stuff we’d do, the services we’d offer, and Tizoc said something I’ll never forget ‘cause it inspired me in the biggest way.
Tizoc, eyes fixed on his screen, talking to me beside him, he said this, “I can’t wait ‘til I get outta school, so I can start my own business, bro.” Still intently working, I probably said something like yeah me too. I don’t really remember what I said, but I know I thought, “*light bulb* why wait?”
From that day on, I began telling everyone I was a graphic designer and working on anything I could. I was happy to tell them I was still a student, but that I could still work on whatever they needed. That confidence has gone a long way. I’m gonna have to look up ‘ol Tizoc and see if he did it after he graduated or not, but I’m grateful and honored to say that I am. ‘Cause I’m confident.
Being confident helps improve sales, win over teams, help clients achieve a goal, but more importantly it’ll help you grow as a creative. It can be tough at first, depending on your personality, but you can do it. We’ll talk about keeping it simple in the next blog.