If you’ve been listening to this podcast for very long you’re probably acquainted with the five motifs that structure 5 Minutes on Creative Entrepreneurship: Money, Minutes, Marketing, Management, and Motivation. Well there is a sixth motif that could be added, and conveniently it also starts with the letter “M.” Your creative Methodology can be a powerful addition to your marketing and radically improve your closing rate on sales opportunities. But only if your methodology is truly unique.
One common feature of the typical creative’s website is a section or page about their process. I review a lot of these websites, and 99 times out of 100 those processes are essentially all the same. First comes discovery, followed by design, then production, with perhaps some testing and iteration thrown in. If your process sounds similar, rather than differentiating yourself from your competitors, you’re confirming that you are just one choice among many similar alternatives.
But if you have something demonstrably distinct, a method that relates to your focused area of expertise, then your process can become a powerful addition to your sales and marketing program.
A truly unique process is almost always the product of PinPoint Positioning. When you focus on one key area of creative service, and emphasize delivering it to one key market, you will end up repeating similar projects and solving common problems. This in depth experience leads to significant pattern recognition—not only in the solutions you design, but also patterns in how your client’s might struggle to understand some of the solutions you suggest.
When you identify unique barriers, and learn how to overcome them, those lessons begin to inform your process. You’ll start anticipating these issues—surfacing them early in your discovery process. When you become a true expert you’ll have ready solutions for problems that your clients struggle to understand.
When I was leading my first company, we saw repeated patterns in the difficulty of communicating about the complex structures and functionalities of an advanced website with our clients. Over time we developed a dynamic, browser-based prototyping methodology that was truly unique (at least it was back in 2001). We closed so many sales opportunities in large part due to how impressed our prospects were when we demonstrated our unique process.
Remember that sales and marketing are in large part about establishing trust with your prospects. Of course they need to determine that you have the core skills and talent necessary to deliver, but they also want to know what it will be like to work with you, how you will lead the process, and that you will be able to deliver on time and on budget.
When you have a methodology that demonstrates a deep understanding of their specific concerns, and that you’ve dealt with many other clients in their market before—that builds a ton of confidence which can really seal the deal. In our case, not only did this win us business, but our clients were so thrilled by the contrast of using our methodology, compared to previous bad experiences, that the methodology itself gained a reputation that led to further opportunities.
A well-oiled process, designed to solve focused problems is a huge benefit to your sales and marketing efforts. But you need to carefully and repeatedly study focused problems if you’re going to discover solutions that lead to unique methodologies. Yet one more reason to adopt a PinPoint Position for your creative practice.
Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.