The most powerful way to differentiate your creative business

All of us that do creative work face a similar challenge. 

Despite our best efforts to be unique, at times we can feel like a commodity.

While we may have our own unique style, there are hundreds of other creatives out there with their unique style as well.

So it begs the question, ‘How do I differentiate myself in the creative field?’

How do I set myself apart and win over clients?

My goal with this post is to share with you the single most powerful way to differentiate your creative business.


It’s not just about the work

Here is where most creative’s get it wrong. They assume that the client will always hire the best creative, the most polished, or the most experienced.

While clients look for those attributes in who they choose to hire, they are generally not the final deciding factor.

A portfolio, experience and skill sets are the entry level qualifications to work with most clients.

But the real factors that determine if the client will work with you is not as tangible.

Clients hire based on emotion

When a client looks to hire you, they evaluate your portfolio alongside several other creatives as well.

You all look good, and thus the client enters the interview process.

At this point, you have passed their quality test and you are now engaged in a conversation.

At this point, many creatives still try to sell on quality, experience and use this interview as a time to brag and show off.

That is the completely wrong way to go about it.

Instead, you want to use this interview process as a means to understand the client and create an emotional connection.

Ask the client a lot of questions, try to understand their objectives. 

Joke around, laugh with the client and have a human conversation. 

Your goal with these calls is not to sell yourself.

Your goal is to create an emotional connection with the client.

The attention you pay to the emotional experience of working with your customers may be the best way to differentiate yourself and build a contagious brand.
— Michael Port, Book Yourself Solid

The proof is in the pudding

I spend a lot of time investing into the emotional connection with my clients and I regularly see tangible results.

On multiple instances I have won projects where my bid was almost double what other designers quoted. 

The client told me the budget the other designers offered and still hired me despite my higher rate. 

The exact words from one client “I like your energy and I feel like you really understand what I am trying to accomplish.”

Note that they said nothing about the quality of my work, my expertise or my portfolio.

Instead, that client hired me purely on an emotional basis. 

The client felt like they had been understood. 


Set yourself apart

If you really want to set your business apart, you must learn how to create this emotional connection.

There is no 3 step process to figuring this out. 

Instead it is something that you must learn to do by simply creating genuine human connections.

The key is the ‘genuine’ part. 

You must be honest, you must be true and you must care about helping the clients situation and understanding their problems.

If you can do this then you will have a strong advantage over any competition out there. 

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