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Technical Ability.design This is almost a given in today’s marketplace. It is clearly seen in your

This is almost a given in today’s marketplace. It is clearly seen in your work, and must be there. Since there are a lot of technically competent

work, and must be there. Since there are a lot of technically competent designers and illustrators out there, the “visuals only” are usually

designers and illustrators out there, the “visuals only” are usually

not enough information. No question that you must start there, but

don’t stop there!

Give the Clients What They Really Want.design

To make this happen, your ability to listen is crucial. Before you put

together your next sales presentation, be sure to determine whether

your client wants a creative collaboration with you, or has a more literal

(and preapproved by committee) image. Peter Block’s pioneering

book on consulting relationships, Flawless Consulting, labels these as

either the “expert” consultant or the “pair of hands” role. They are

simply different clients; neither is wrong or bad. The style client that

buys creative collaboration looks at your style, personal vision, your

problem-solving skills, and the way you visualize. The more literal

clients are very straightforward, know exactly what they want, and want

to see what they need in your portfolio before they hire you. You can

develop the ability to spot these differences, which will provide both

you and the client with a much more successful working relationship.

Making Them Look Good.design

You do not have to explain what you are showing. Given the power of

visual language, the work itself will tell the client “what” it is, so your

job here is to let clients know the “why, who, when, where” of your

work. Try adding success story anecdotes when presenting your work

so that your client can better imagine working with you successfully.

Once you’ve started this process, you are moving from the pure visual

to the nonvisual presentation. For example, make short and simple

statements of special interest that will draw the client into the work,

e.g., “that was for clients launching their first new product in two

years,” or, “for this illustration we did extensive research on the topic

of depression.” This opens the door for more conversation when the 72 THE GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S GUIDE TO MARKETING & PROMOTION client is interested, plus it adds value to the idea of hiring you by adding more depth to the visuals. Keep listening carefully. Soon you’ll hear ways that your expertise and experience can help the client succeed by hiring you.design