Can you recall a time, whether over coffee with a friend or at a conference with your team, where you heard a statement that made you feel deeply understood and affirmed in your purpose? It’s powerful to feel that level of recognition and connectedness.
As we’ve worked with clients over the years from a broad span of industries and disciplines, we’ve gotten to witness unique visions actualizing all over the world. We value these opportunities to collaborate for a period of time and the chance to rally around their missions in ways we wouldn’t get to otherwise.
Let’s walk through not only the value of, but also the how-to’s of stepping into your client’s purpose, because when you’re familiar with ways to better serve and connect with your audience, the impact you can have through your company is exponential.
Invest In Their Investment
Your clients represent a unique set of values that hold weight in their respective industries. Many people may not get to witness the impact they’re having, but as service providers, we gain access to a behind-the-scenes perspective into their daily rituals. In my career as a designer, I work within the tech world, nonprofit space, start-up ventures and more, and when I find myself actively engaging in these industries, I not only learn about the specialty as a whole, but the problems people experience within the industry and the ways my clients are providing solutions.
The best way I have learned to invest in my clients’ mission is to simply ask questions – about their products and services, company history, industry, competitive edge, their personal definition of success, and many others. Learning to ask thoughtful questions and intentionally listen to the response is the single best way to experience someone’s mission and to discover ways to step into those spaces as an advocate and team member.
People, Not Paychecks
Sometimes, we can get trapped in thinking about our customers as primarily a means to an outcome, whether that’s in sales, company growth or financial freedom. While I know full-well that sales and growth are necessary to support us and keep our companies alive, we can sometimes get caught in the trap of stopping there, leaving us to perceive those we serve as merely transactional.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly noticed the difference in my work when I’ve intentionally considered my clients’ goals and purposes when working on their projects; I not only want to design great pieces for my portfolio, but I truly strive to produce incredible content that will further the impact my clients are able to make in their spheres of influence. What’s great about this? The final product really does turn out better and stronger.
Next time you’re working with clients or selling products, seek to consciously discern some of the motives you’re bringing to the work. Catch yourself doing well – when you’re making sales propositions based on your clients legitimate needs, and take note of the times where you’re heart’s not set on the benefit of others, then work on transitioning that thought into a positive, purpose-driven mindset. People will notice and appreciate the difference!
Cultivating Supportive Brand Advocates
When your customers believe they are working with a professional who genuinely wants to see them thrive, they experience the very emotions we discussed at the beginning of this post. They feel understood, welcomed, empowered, like you have their back. When you make this impression on someone, they’ll naturally reciprocate the support and encouragement back to your purpose and pursuit.
Last month, a new client of mine was interested in hearing some reviews from some of my former branding clients. As I saw some of the words exchanged, I was overwhelmed by the support and affirmation. When you make others feel truly heard and accepted, they will naturally become influential brand advocates for you. Not only is this incredibly humbling, but it reminds me of why I offer the services I do and why I wake up every day eager to design, because not only do I get to create great content, but I’m able to contribute to the success and passion of others by way of design.