Your Clients Want What You Want

by seanlow on March 18, 2015

We all evolve.  Me too.  When I first started working with creative businesses, Preston and Vicente very much included, I thought that the work had to be to reach into the mind of a client and translate their vision into your art.  Focus on listening, then presenting, and ultimately creating for clients. While this framework is still true, it is not enough.  What is left out is the underneath.  Why do clients want what they want?

Nobody goes to a creative business to get a product.  Certainly, not in the same way you would go to a store for a product.  If you are going to buy toothpaste, you go to a retailer and pick.  Price matters, brand matters, so does the story you tell yourself when you pick – “I will have fresher breath, whiter teeth, fewer cavities”.  We do not really know if the product will work, but we want to be believers so we try.  If we are wrong, we just go test another product in the category, sometimes even if we are right – “used to want fresh breath, now more important I get whiter teeth.”  Not the same for creative business.  Your final art is supposed to validate a client’s story, with the process to get there an ever-evolving movement into the story.  The custom dress makes a woman feel sublime the way an off-the-rack never could.  The dress is, in every respect, the culmination of the journey.  The dress represents the story you, your art and your creative business tell to your client.  It alone is not the story.  The better you narrate along the way the more success you will find.  Thank you Bill Baker.

My evolution is to take it a step further.  Without ego, arrogance, or hyperbole: your clients want what you want.  Your story and that of your art and artistry IS the underneath that clients buy. They want to touch that magic, what drives you to do what you do.  All creative business owners have talent and passion (or they should not be creative business owners). The desire to manifest that talent and passion for someone else is your story.  Define the desire.  What does it mean to you?  How do you feel about what drives you?  What is it all about?  This is layers deeper than because it is beautiful or I like color.  Creating has to make you feel more alive, otherwise you would do something else for a living. The act of creating, its impetus, compulsion really, is what is so intoxicating to clients.  You have to be able to put it into words, to make it a mantra you will never deviate from.  It has to be some form of “I want to make you feel”.  What your clients will feel, that part is up to you.  This is your story and the deeper you know it, the more you know what your client wants.  They want what you want.

Here is where it takes me:  how can I help you belongs at McDonald’s, not in creative business.  Since you already know the answer to the question, you start with a statement.  Here is how I am going to help you.  If you are courageous enough to build your business around the statement, not the question, you will find immediate resonance with your client or not.  In the resonance, you will share stories and make your clients ever richer for the experience.  You will be paid (handsomely) to share your story through their eyes, not the other way around.

{ 1 comment }

1 Eve Poplett April 6, 2015 at 3:04 am

This is the best article. I find myself rereading it over and over. When I am thinking of the decisions or before I meet with a new client, I read this article again. Thank you.

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