Becoming More Valuable to Clients

Many people have seen the famous TED talk by Simon Sinek. The basic message is discovering your 'Why' and operating from it. This is key to any entrepreneur developing a strong, focused business.

One thing I've done for a while with out realizing it is to operate from my customer's 'why'. To have my creative developed from who they want to be and strive to be an asset to their business beyond simply creating video content. Not only does this lead to better project outcomes, but it also creates more opportunities for work. I'll explain more about that in a second. Being successful by stumbling into a good process is ok, but it's much better if you take the time to assess the reasons for success.

Looking back, I did this for 3 reasons.
1. I am a business owner too.  I know (and can feel) the difference when a vendor is involved just for the pay check.
2. One of my first projects backfired partially because I was not given (and didn't ask) about the brand [You can read more on that here].
3. I am a people pleaser. It's a strength and weakness rolled into one. I genuinely want to see others succeed.

I was headed down the right track, but my reasoning for going down it wasn't the strongest. To create more success I needed to re-assess my 'why' for the way I operated with clients. Here's what I found;

1. When I take the time to understand the brand beyond the project, I naturally become more invested in the success of the brand. This actually aligns my goals more closely with that of the client because their goals are for their company, not just the project.
2. Understanding the brand brings out better creative with less revisions. This is pretty obvious; the better I know my client, the better I understand what they need, even if it's not what they initially thought of. I definitely want to make that last part clear because at times a client can bring me just their 'solution' and not share the 'problem' behind it. For example, a client may be trying to build up their social media presence and they bring the concepts for the videos they want to create. I don't just want to know the videos they want to make, I want to know that the hold reason for this solution was to build up their social media presence. This helps in countless large and small creative decisions along the way and gives me the opportunity to offer an adjusted idea if I don't think it's going to deliver the results they are hoping for.
3. Having a full understanding of my client's brand helps me bring additional deliverables to the table. This is because I know more than just the fact that they want to make a video, I know why. That why allows me to pitch new content that is relevant to the needs of the company. Call it an up sell, but I prefer to see it as being a strategic partner. It's very rare that a client will call and say, "Hey, I want a series of projects this year, let's put a retainer together." That's something to work out as that strategic partner and bring to the brand. Good relationships like this are always a win-win.