TORONTO—The third annual Design City show wrapped up yesterday after a successful three-day run. This was the first year that Design City introduced seminars at the show.
Design Edge columnist Craig Swistun invited a panel of peers to discuss and debate his seminar topic: How to Sell Design. Barry Martin of Hypenotic, James Morris of James Morris Communications and Brand Strategy and Asif Nasim of Wickware Communications were on hand to talk shop and share their advice on sales.
Morris compared client relationships to dating. “Are their common interests? Is there a reason to spend time together?” asked Morris. “Selling a partnership [with a client] is like trying to sell commitment. You can promise it but can you deliver?”
Nasim agreed that the business relationship has to be a good fit for both parties. One way to help win over clients, he said, is to do your homework. “Being prepared is absolutely critical. Know about your client’s needs; know their current [industry] trends; what are they trying to accomplish?”
And be confident, he says, about what you are bringing to the table. Demonstrate your credibility, expertise and value. “Know your value proposition at the front end,” says Nasim, “or risk becoming a commodity and selling strictly on price.”
Eventually, though, money must change hands. For many designers, it’s an awkward conversation but according to Morris, it doesn’t have to be. “It’s not about what is this brochure going to cost, it’s about what is this brochure going to do for your business, what are you trying to achieve and what is that worth to you?”