I’m a businessman. I love what I do, but I don’t do it for free. And I don’t expect others to either. However, I do expect to have an idea of what I am paying for. Especially if you deal with a visual medium, like websites or you are going to be managing something I can’t readily qualify, like PR. I was looking for a someone to design my website and I spoke to a number of great people.They had great words, but none of them gave me anything with which to connect. Just my own mental pictures, which history has shown is’t always the other’s picture.
There is a reason there are pictures in catalogs, because if you selling something meant to be seen, people need to see it. Especially if your describing a concept. Websites are concepts. In some manner suits can be as well, so I have to be able to draw out my idea for my sewers and my clients. Does this take time, of course it does, but it is necessary to get me to fall in love with your concept. Many business don’t want to take the expense of doing work they are not getting compensated for. They don’t see the big picture. In business this is called a loss-leader. You are basically doing work for free, or a reduced price, in order to gain business that will profit you down the road. It’s an investment in your success.
When I started William Wilson Clothing, I offered reduced pricing to specific people who could easily afford my suits. Why? Because having them as clients gave me credibility. Doing that for just one client gained me 3 more. I also donate suits to charities. This is not only a good thing to do morally, but it also gains exposure and brand recognition. All of these cost me in the beginning, but they paid off in the end. One of my best clients won one of my suits at an auction. He was so impressed with the quality and speed, that he continued to buy. To date, he has bought about 10 suits and 15 shirts in the last year.
If any of the web designers had taken the time to build even a quick mock up that I could have an emotional reaction to, I probably would have signed with them. But they didn’t. Sure they will have their reasons and excuses why, but at the end of the day, the end result is, they lost my sale and anyone I would’ve referred to them, because they weren’t willing to put in the sweat equity to earn my business. Same goes to the PR people I have talked to. None of them have given me a plan of action that they would take for my situation. They just tell me things that are possible. A lot of companies like to put the minimum into their client until they have a contract and are getting their money. Which is why, many of them are struggling.
Here is the takeaway for this. There is a reason dealerships let you test drive cars, why department stores have display televisions and appliances, why there are mannequins with clothing on them; to garner an emotional reaction. To allow you to visualize your self using the product. Can this be costly? yes. Is it effective? Absolutely. When people feel a connection or emotional response to an item or idea, they will more than likely purchase it. Put in some sweat equity and give me something to fall in love with. Give me something other than words and proposals. Give me something to like, not just something to sign, and maybe we can do some business.
God bless and dress well,
William the Clothier