By Shannon Hackley,Principal/Owner, Shannon Leigh Associates
I hear it all the time: “Sales? But that’s the marketing department’s job.” Or “That’s up to the principal.” No, it is not!
Designers want to design, but if you don't have great clients and great projects, you can't do what you love. Creating lasting client relationships and business development skills are essential for design firms. That means everyone—principals, designers, project managers—every employee, all the way to the interns, need to contribute to help build your practice.
Paradigms have changed. There are new ways to connect and communicate. The digital age has transformed business. It is time to reconstruct the way we sell professional design services in today’s market.
I have built my career growing companies by building deep relationships with my clients. You can too. Here are three things to keep in mind when building relationships to grow your business:
Design involves trust. If you don't have the trust from the client, you won't have the permission to inspire, challenge and create new possibilities for your projects. Our profession is specialized and complicated. You need to earn trust to reshape the environment you have been tasked with improving.
Design involves leadership. With that trust, the client can let go and give you the reins to lead the project. You need to take risks to take the lead.
Design involves collaboration. Collaboration and networking are the new norm. We are part of design teams that can be at odds with who gets to control the aesthetics. We are hired to make brand statements and create intuitive wayfinding that must be dovetailed into the built environment. We must position our strategies and designs with our client and teams to get priority to achieve results for the patient, the visitor and the guest experience.
During my session,“Business Development: Consultative Selling,” at the 2018 SEGD Management for Designersevent, you will learn more about how to grow your practice through relationship selling. Old school methods: Do they still work? What do we need to add to the story?
Join me in Chicago on April 27 to gain skills on scoping and developing new business opportunities and lasting client relationships via proven methodologies and learn how to build an ecosystem to help you grow your firm. Whether you are a manager, designer or fabricator (or really anyone with a role in building client relationships), you should attend this session.
Build the experiential graphic design community by crossing the aisle and raising the bar. Registerfor 2018 SEGD Management for Designers to find out how.