Nothing is worse than paying a bill for average stuff. I hate paying my taxes, my utility bills, and most of all my cable bill.
Why? Because it’s boring stuff. Bills I just have to pay and I don’t really feel like I’m getting a lot for my money.
In contrast, there are a few bills I love to pay. My designer, my writers, my book purchases on Amazon.com. Why? Just the opposite of the above–I feel like I got something creative and valuable.
That’s what clients want. That’s what will get you more sales, more referrals, and more prompt invoice payments. So start a creativity plan for your business…
Inspire Your Creativity
It all starts with getting off your process-minded treadmill and strolling about in the park occasionally.
I’m all for hard-nose sales discipline. The trick is getting just as disciplined about sparking a creative process too. Here are a few (disciplined) things I do to capture creative inspiration.
- Stretch my brain with books and blogs
- Always, Always, Always force a positive attitude
- Observe and collect. I always have a small notebook nearby
- Study creativity. When you see it, dissect it
- Find mentors and inspirations (i.e., Steve Jobs)
Simply taking note of ads, emails, blogs, designs, and businesses that seem to be full of creativity will seed your own creativity. That’s the first step. Now you have to move this inspiration towards the client. Make it your value proposition.
Deliver Your Creativity
Once you’re taking note of all the creativity around you, the next step is to make it part of your core business. I implement this with three major strategies:
- Curate ideas for my clients. This is as simple as capturing ideas in a note or a link. Then methodically passing relevant ones to the appropriate clients. Avoid being proprietary. It’s okay to share things that might be a bit competitive. My experience is that clients don’t want a lot of vendor relationships. Instead they want one smart and trustworthy one that can execute. Let them know, “This is a great idea. Would you want to consider riffing off this for a similar campaign or offering?”
- Tune them into what’s working for others. Without violating any confidentially or proprietary agreements, tune you clients into other successes you’re having. Provide them with insight into trends and tactics that are working for other clients. As a consultant, they’re paying for this insight.
- Provide unsolicited proposals. Don’t be a lazy contractor. Win your business everyday. Study your client’s business and pepper them with proposals for additional work. This works in two ways: First, it helps clients see opportunities they may not see when they’re heads down in the day-to-day. Second, it advises your client of your full range of capabilities–heading off any RFPs going to competitors.
Important Note: These examples are focused on consultants and freelancers. However, for all my auto sales, mortgage broker, and insurance agent friends in the audience you should use the same process. Alert them to leading edge trends (i.e., new models, rates, programs in the market) Advise them of models, financing options, and policies that are currently the most popular Routinely make them offers they can’t refuse. This goes for past clients especially
Turn Creativity Into Revenue
It all come down to this–Show Me the Money!
As you’re inspiring your creative process and delivering it to prospects and clients, do it with dollar signs. Make sure you’re clear about the revenue possibilities with these ideas.
Never pitch a creative idea because it is fun, silly, or interesting.
The Old Spice viral YouTube series was not pitched as being fun and frivolous. It was pitched with the objective of making your grandfather’s aftershave cool to a whole new generation for the express purpose of raking in millions of dollars from that generation–oh, and it’s kinda funny too.
Do you deliver creativity? How do you make creativity a part of your value proposition to customers?