January 14, 2022
If you’ve already listened to this week’s podcast, you’ll know we had a special treat this week! In the podcast, we chatted in-depth with the beautiful Sarah Buckland all about sales strategies and nailing those scary discovery calls.
If you haven’t tuned in yet, we totally recommend that you go and listen to Sarah put it all in her own words. But in the meantime, here’s an encapsulation of all the brilliant strategies we chatted about.
Sarah is a UK based Sales Coach & Business Mentor. After six years in corporate London in sales and business development, she now helps freelancers, service providers and online entrepreneurs to improve their sales skills, teaching them how to sign more high-ticket clients, raise their rates with confidence, and get booked out months in advance.
We met Sarah when she was running her own design business and she had a coaching session with us. Sarah had various questions about the best way to get her business flowing, but unlike most designers, those questions weren’t about sales strategy. In fact, thanks to her sales experience, Sarah found that she was booking many more hard-to-get clients and charging much higher fees than other designers she was connecting with who were technically much more skilled and experienced at the actual design work.
As Sarah began to offer advice to those designers, she realised she had tapped into exactly where her zone of genius lay, and thus her business was born. We’ve loved watching her find her perfect niche and thrive there. And thanks to her time in the design industry, we’ve also been able to mine her unique insights for techniques and strategies to share with our beautiful Design and Prosper community. So here is our summary of Sarah’s advice about how to nail your discovery calls.
Easier said than done right? We totally get the cringe factor that comes with discovery calls. But something Sarah said really rang true for us. A discovery call is a warm experience. Coming from a background in sales, Sarah had already done a lot of cold-calling. And that is really nerve-wracking, because you have to speak to someone who probably doesn’t really want to speak to you, and convert them into someone who wants to buy your product.
Compare this to a discovery call, where the person is already looking for someone to help them. They actually want to talk to you. They’re interested to hear your insights and ideas and you’re in a space where you’re welcome. It’s like slipping into a warm bath compared to swimming a lap of the English Channel in Winter.
Just remembering that can go a long way towards settling your nerves. Which doesn’t mean that you still won’t have them, but the rest of it is just practice. Becoming an entrepreneur means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and settling your nerves in discovery calls is part of that. The more you make them, the easier it will be and the less and less cringe you’ll feel. So fake it til you make it – and trust that you will eventually make it.
No matter how new or nervous you are, be sure that the customer’s experience of working with you is seamless and impressive. Create a confident onboarding experience where everything is clearly communicated up front – all the boundaries and expectations – and your client can see exactly how they’ll be kept in touch with the process along the way.
In Sarah’s case, she used a client portal where all of the tasks were broken down, with those that were assigned to the client clearly identified. Her clients were able to see exactly which stage of the process their project was at, and were automatically reminded by email when their assigned tasks were due. It created a totally professional impression. No matter how out of her depth she might have felt at times, to her clients Sarah was always on top of her game.
We teach designers how to use a portal for client management in the Design and Prosper Academy—it’s a game-changer because no matter how much imposter syndrome is creeping in, it ensures that your client’s introduction to their journey is smooth and polished. Too many designers are diminishing the client’s impression of the quality of their work by having a disorganised or poorly communicated process. And the reverse can be true. You can actually increase your client’s belief in your work, simply by creating an impressive, confidently guided experience.
Take your client with you on the design journey. Ask for their insights and feedback, so they can see that by the time you reach the handover, it’s a journey you’ll have gone on together. But talk less and listen more – it’s the times when they’re talking that will connect them to you. Everyone wants to be seen, heard and understood, and by actively listening to and understanding your client’s needs, you will create a better solution, while simultaneously creating a close and trusting partnership that your client is totally involved in.
This process is so important to laying the ground work for your pricing pitch. If your client has had plenty of air time, if they’ve been able to express all their desires and concerns and they feel that you have a complete body of information about their struggles and what they’re trying to achieve, they will already be invested in working with you. Moreover, they will trust you when you recommend a package or service to them, because they know that you know exactly what they need.
It feels awkward to talk about money. We’re all trained to feel like we shouldn’t be greedy, like we shouldn’t be money-hungry, and more than that, doubt can creep in in terms of your value, as well as the fear that you’ll price yourself out of the project. Pricing is a point where the nerves can take over, and with nerves can come overtalking and a total betrayal of everything you’ve worked so hard to set up. So keep it simple.
The first thing Sarah recommends is to only pitch the one main service that you’ve identified as being the best fit for them, based on the needs you’ve discovered. You can still say something like, ‘Based on what you’ve told me, the (x) package is for you because it does (x, y, z), and it will help you to do (x, y, z)’.
You’ve already taken the time to find out what they need, so don’t overwhelm them with choices. Your role now is to be their advisor, and give them the best match for those needs. Remember that you’ve created trust. They trust you and you’re worthy of that trust because you’re going to provide them with a perfectly executed service.
For example, don’t say, ‘The price of this package is …’, say ‘The investment in this package is …’. It’s a small change with a big impact, because ‘investment’ implies gain, while ‘price’ implies loss.
And if you’re quoting a large figure, break it down into the numbers rather than saying the whole thing. ‘3,1,4,5’ is easier to say than ‘Three thousand one hundred and forty five’ – it’s quick, it’s digestible, and you’re less likely to stutter while saying it!
Do not say anything else. Put yourself on mute if you have to. Say, ‘The investment for this package is 3 1 4 5. How does that sound to you?’ and then silence.
It’s so easy to let the nerves take over at this point and start to blunder out something like, ‘If you can’t afford it, then….’ and before you know it you’ve undercut yourself. Don’t do it. This is the moment to pause, allow the pricing to land, and let your client respond.
And remember, you actually have no idea of what is high or low money to your client. It’s so easy to offer a discount at this point, when the client hasn’t asked for one and doesn’t even need one. Silences can feel awkward and we all have the urge to make people feel comfortable, but by interjecting at this point, you can actually make your client feel really uncomfortable. You’ve delivered your presentation, you’ve gained their trust, and you’ve advised them of what’s right for them. It’s their turn now.
It probably sounds obvious, but have (say three) different packages at different price points. During the discovery call, you should be evaluating where your client will fall within these price points. If they’re obviously very enthusiastic and clearly already put a high value on what you do, you’ll be quoting up. If you notice they have some tension around money, you’ll be quoting down. Just remember that it’s easier to drop to a lower package once your client responds to your quote than it is to bring them up to a higher package.
The other function of packages is to indicate value to your client. As a designer, you will know the purpose and value of every service you offer, but your client isn’t in the design business and they probably won’t understand what a lot of it is all about or why it’s important. Having a number of packages on the same pricing tier can simply create confusion. Of course, you are guiding them towards the package that’s right for them, but with a pricing heirarchy it’s easy for your client to see whether they’re purchasing a deluxe experience or just a basic package.
Show up on stories, create video content, give your client every chance to feel like they already know you before you walk into the room. Sure, this can also make you feel a bit of that cringe at first. But push through it. Because if the client is already familiar with you and your messaging, if they know that you totally love bubble tea, or the name of your dog, if they know how your voice sounds and the way you look when you laugh, you’ll feel like a friend to them before you even get started.
If you do this, your discovery calls will be even warmer, because the trust will have already been built. You’ll be coming to a call where not only does the client want to work with you, they’re feeling totally excited about it!
So don’t hide behind graphics in your reels, get your face out there! When you walk into a discovery call with your familiar face to a client who’s been following you for months and waiting for their chance to be part of your story, your job is already done. They already know the unique selling points that make you you and they’re ready to jump in!
We highly recommend heading to the podcast to listen to the whole conversation, and if you’d like to look for more advice from Sarah, go ahead and follow @sarahbucklandcoaching on Instagram or you can visit Sarah’s website here. She has so many other tips and tricks and some great freebies to sign up to!
We totally love Sarah and we got so much out of our chat! We hope you did too!
Kris and Donna xo
[00:00:00] Kris: Welcome everybody. And welcome to Sarah Buckland. We are so excited to have you on our podcast.
[00:00:08] Sarah Buckland: Thank you for having me.
[00:00:09] Kris: Yes. As you know, Donna and I do not have podcasts guests very often. I think we’ve had, we’ve had one, we’ve had podcast guest.
[00:00:16] Donna: Had one. one. Yeah.
[00:00:19] Kris: very early on. Well, Yes. because we really, um we’ve made a commitment to each other. We really only want podcast guests on that feel will really add value and offer some gold to our audience. And we believe in you so much. And we have just watched you tap into your zone of genius with your sales knowledge, over the past year, it’s just been incredible to watch. So, um, Yeah. So for those of you who are listening and watching, we met Sarah, I think it was about a year ago. I’m actually not sure when it was, but it feels like a year.
[00:00:56] Sarah Buckland: It was. Around exactly at this time.
[00:00:59] Kris: Wow. Look at what can happen in a year. Um, and, and you were in a real pivoting moment in your business and you actually had a design business at that point in time. Yes. And then you realized, and I remember we were talking to you and you were like, oh, I’m good with sales. I’m all over the sales. And we were like, wow.
[00:01:18] Donna: We were like, wow, that is so amazing because that is the opposite of most graphic designers. Most graphic designers are so fearful and shut down with sales. And we’re like this girl, she’s going places. She’s all over the sales business.
[00:01:33] Sarah Buckland: I was like, then I’m good with that, but I need help with this.
[00:01:37] Donna: Yeah.
[00:01:38] Kris: And then we noticed you pivoted into the world of sales strategy. And helping people to raise their rates and get confidence with their sales strategies and to book higher ticket items. And that sort of thing, it was just really exciting to watch you tap into your zone of genius and how that happened. But for the people who don’t know much about you, maybe you could tell us a little bit about your journey and how you have gotten to this point.
[00:02:08] Donna: Yes, please.
[00:02:10] Sarah Buckland: Thank you ladies. Hi guys. I’m Sarah. So I spent six years in corporate London in sales and business development for a big global media company. Loved that job, but wanting to quit to go traveling, you know, go find myself, run the world.
[00:02:27] Kris: Yeah.
[00:02:28] Sarah Buckland: So did that. And I took a long enough break that I got a taste of what life is like not being in the office. So
[00:02:35] Kris: Yeah.
[00:02:35] Sarah Buckland: I was like, Hmm,
[00:02:37] Donna: It’s all it takes, a little taste.
[00:02:40] Sarah Buckland: Which you’ve had a long enough time away from corporate and other people’s policies, procedures, rules, way of doing things. Um, and I’d had to take a career gap in order to do something that I enjoyed. And I was like, well, it shouldn’t have to be one or the other. Why can’t I have both?
[00:02:56] Donna: Why not?
[00:02:57] Sarah Buckland: I want it all.
[00:02:58] Donna: Yes
[00:02:59] Sarah Buckland: I was just like, I’m going to find a way to start my online business so that I can be still bringing money in, but still enjoying myself and go traveling. Obviously COVID had other plans, so I didn’t know how to apply any of my sales knowledge at the time. So I actually retrained, took an online course, did loads of studying. This is where lockdown has happened. I’d just got home. So I’d got the time, going on Skillshare, going on YouTube, learning all the Adobe and all the tricks and whatnot to start a graphic design business so that I could be offering branding. So it was a whole new skill, but I could apply a bit of the sales as in what a wider brand means, not just the design side, to be able to market that to my clients. Like here’s why you need branding and what our brand is. Whilst I was trying to get my design skills better to match what I was saying.
[00:03:51] Kris: Yeah.
[00:03:52] Sarah Buckland: Um, but fast forward, six months of doing my graphic design business. Um, I’d made friends with loads of designers. There’s such a pally bunch
[00:04:00] Kris: Yeah.
[00:04:00] Sarah Buckland: I found that in DM’s I was, seeing people who were way better skilled than I was. Obviously I was all self-taught from Skillshare. Seeing people who were technically so good and it got really high-end designs and could be landing really hard to get clients who were charging so much little than I was. Then I was like, well, something’s gone wildly here.
[00:04:24] Donna: Or wildly right In your case.
[00:04:27] Sarah Buckland: Exactly as I, I’m not that good. And I’m four times the price that you are. So how are you surviving? like, this isn’t even a profitable business for you. You’d have to take on 10 clients and be working every hour of the day, seven days a week in order to make that profitable. And people woud it’s really hard. And I’m like, what? So it was through various DM conversations, helping people, I’d ask questions and then I will have you done this and have you asked the client this and what about this? And to the point that someone said, Sarah, I should be charging you for the advice that you’ve given me because it’s helped my business so much.
[00:05:01] Donna: Love that. yeah,
[00:05:06] Sarah Buckland: And here’s where we’re meant to be
[00:05:08] Donna: yeah
[00:05:09] Kris: That’s where you’re to be.
[00:05:10] Donna: good. Beautiful.
[00:05:12] Sarah Buckland: I am much happier. Cause I found, like you say, I’ve found what makes me feel good. I work in a way that makes me feel happy, stepped into my zone of genius but I’ve got such a more unique insight because of taking that time. So
[00:05:26] Donna: absolutely. And I think that’s why our beautiful audience is going to really relate to you, Sarah, because of that, because you’ve had that insight into our industry and really understand that it is tricky. It’s really tricky. And it’s fear that a lot of designers have when it comes to pricing and being confident and really being able to show up and charge what they’re worth. So that’s the main thing that we want to chat with you about today because you were doing it, and you understood it, and you had the confidence to charge what you are worth. So. We’d love for you to tap into some of the strategy that you used, and share that with our audience today and help them and give them some tips around they can do to elevate confidence.
[00:06:11] Sarah Buckland: Absolutely. Um, so what of my main tips of me being confident, even as an unconfident graphic designer, is that I was really sure of my process. I knew that my customer experience, once they booked on, that, that bit was seamless and it was impressive. So having a customer portal, a client portal, where they could see everything and having all the tasks broken down and them aligned to some tasks, um, just being able to invite them into that experience. Clients found really, really impressive. So even me, there was a newbie, a beginner. They’d be like, oh, she’s really got her stuff together here. And from a making your life easier perspective that CRM tool would email the client with anything that was aligned to them. So any task with their name, the tool would send them a reminder email and not me. So it was less work for me to do.
[00:07:06] Donna: Perfect.
[00:07:07] Sarah Buckland: Just by having like nice onboarding experience. So everything communicated up front, all the boundaries, all the expectations, then being invited into this client management tool, where they had full access and visibility to everything that I was doing. So they didn’t have to be sending followup questions or what we’re working on next. And having multiple feedback points as well. My experience working in a coffee shop, the equivalent of Starbucks, but it’s one called Costa here. We were really big on customer experience, brand loyalty. So everything was about the customer. So I still carry that with me. It’s like ingrained into me now. So. I think, especially with something like branding, a lot of people don’t know what that process involves at all. So I tried to involve customers at as many points as I could not so point where it like, hold me up, but just include them to be like, I’m doing this now. What is your insight? Or what is your feedback? Okay. Then we’re going to move on to this bit. What is your insight? What is your feedback? So that it’s more of a handheld journey and that they feel with me as opposed to. I’ll go and do the work and then I’ll hand it over. And you’re not involved in the process
[00:08:20] Donna: Yes, right.
[00:08:21] Sarah Buckland: much more walking hand in hand that got visibility. They felt taken care of. And then once it was handover, not just being like, there’s your files. There you go. But looking for ways to make it a bit more impressive, right. A wow factor and make the off-boarding experience just as impressive as the onboarding.
[00:08:41] Kris: So it sounds like you had these beautiful systems underpinning your business when you’re running the design business that helped you with your confidence. Like it was like, well, this is a no brainer because you were so taken care of, I’m going nuture I love that. I love all your nurture sequences that you have. And we’re always talking about that sort of thing as well. We, yeah, we love it. We love, love, love, those beautiful touch points along the way, making sure people feel seen and heard, and you’ve got a real partnership with your clients. It’s so beautiful. So one of the things that designers really struggle with. Um, in particular designers, it’s a bit of a generalization, but they are terrified of the discovery call or the clarity call. So hopping on and talking about their process and talking about maybe their prices and going through this thing. So why think designers are so terrified of this?
[00:09:36] Sarah Buckland: I think there’s a definitely a lot of introverts in the design community. So I think just the how face front it is for that period of time. And I totally get that it’s nerve-wracking, which is why I was like, no, no, no, I’m fine with that. But that’s because I’ve gone through a lot of sales calls. I’ve already gone through the awkward, the cringe, you know, you’ve already said the wrong things and take it back
[00:10:02] Donna: It’s so true. That experience is everything isn’t it?
[00:10:06] Sarah Buckland: It is. And on discovery calls when it’s such a warmer environment, it’s not like you’re cold calling someone that doesn’t want to speak to you.
[00:10:15] Donna: Yeah.
[00:10:16] Sarah Buckland: Whereas you’ll get on the call with someone that does want to speak to you, looking forward to hearing your voice and your insight, and is genuinely thinking, is this the person that could help me? It’s a warm bath equivalent of what, of what a normal sales a normal call is
[00:10:30] Donna: Yeah, so right. That’s so right. actually just, um, the way that you’ve put that there, that they are wanting to hear your insights. They are looking forward to talking to you. They want to be there. That in itself would settle the nerves, you know, for a lot of people just to understand that, that’s some really great insight, the way that you’ve worded, that, that they want to be there. They’re excited by it. They’re excited to sit and listen to what you’ve got to say.
[00:10:56] Kris: And also what you were speaking to you about it being a practice, essentially it is a practice. You’ve, you’ve gone through the trenches, essentially with the embarrassing moments. And I can relate to that as well, because I was very, very shy about public speaking and being front and center. And then my career path, I went to lecturing and speaking in business groups and, you know, on stage and all that sort of thing. And really had to just do it. I had to work through the nerves. I had to just stuff up a few times and it just got easier and easier every time. I think a lot of people don’t realize it will actually get easier.
[00:11:34] Donna: Mm, yep.
[00:11:34] Kris: Keep practicing.
[00:11:35] Sarah Buckland: Massively it’s like anything, isn’t it? Like anything that’s new or outside your initial comfort zone? It’s scary at first, but that’s the business owner, entrepreneurship life is push yourself a little bit out of there, and you’ll discover a new realm that actually, once you start using calls, you’re going to be saving time because you haven’t got to do weeks of back and forth email communication, where things get lost. You can stand behind your prices and you don’t get ghosted for it because someone can see your value and has built a relationship with you. Not an email, there’s so many benefits. And also like when you do book that client, you have a better working relationship because they’ve got a better relationship with you. They trust you as a person. So your whole experience from the yes is going to be a more enjoyable one.
[00:12:24] Donna: Absolutely.
[00:12:25] Sarah Buckland: I’m pro-call all the way
[00:12:28] Donna: Yes.
[00:12:29] Kris: We’re pro-call as well from a designer getting insights perspective as well, because you can just pick up on the cues. You can pick up on words that they’re using. You can pick up a little bit of body language and whether they’re lifted up by something or a little bit like, Ooh, I’m not sure about that. Because I think designers are very intuitive and you miss those cues if you’re just via email, it’s not going to be the same.
[00:12:51] Sarah Buckland: Exactly. You can’t get tone of voice or the volume or intonation or any of that.
[00:12:57] Kris: Yeah.
[00:12:57] Sarah Buckland: So one of my clients, I encourage her to start using discovery calls and after she’d had a call, she messaged me to say, I’m so glad I’ve started using calls because this lady had filled out a questionnaire and I’d got one impression of her from the words that she’d used, but actually when I had a call with her, I realized that she was completely different and I’ll now be able to do better branding that is much more her, now that I’ve got to know her.
[00:13:21] Donna: Yeah,
[00:13:22] Kris: Yes. and it can go both ways. Can’t it? Like it can be, you go, wow, they’re really different. It’s different to what I thought it would be. This is great. Or it can be like, ooh, it’s not what I thought it was going to be. Not sure to
[00:13:33] Donna: absolutely.
[00:13:33] Kris: work with this person, it’s maybe not a good fit after all, because on paper, things can seem different.
[00:13:39] Donna: Absolutely. It can be a good gatekeeper that’s the thing we, we’re always telling our designers, to look for cues on level. Look for cues that they can afford your service. That’s the one thing, look for cues that they understand what you do. That’s really key and understanding what you can deliver and what you can’t deliver. And, to see them in person is really powerful, powerful stuff. So they get through their discovery call, they get over their nerves. it gets to the part where they need to talk about price, Sarah. So, and this is, this is where they freeze. They choke up, they freeze, they brush over it and say, they’ll put something in writing. But what we encourage, is that we discuss pricing right now. Because again, it’s that gatekeeper. We need to understand that the person we’re talking to understands the value and can afford us. So advice can you give to our beautiful designers out there who are on their first discovery call or just new at discovery calls and they get to the pricing. They’ve got to talk about it. What’s your advice?
[00:14:39] Sarah Buckland: So in the lead up to getting to the pricing conversation, I’d say, make sure that you’ve asked, you’ve made it all about them, not about you, so that they’ve had plenty of air time and that they feel seen, heard, understood. So you’ve not done that much talking. You’ve asked all the right questions about their business. They’re really invested. You’ve got a a body of information about what they need when they need it and what they’re looking to achieve, you know, what their current struggles are and you’ve then pitched your one main service, not talked about everything that you do. Cause I know with designers, they can be so
[00:15:16] Donna: Yes.
[00:15:16] Sarah Buckland: “this is amazing and I’ve got different packages and here’s why you need branding and ladedadeda”. Just mention only the service that is the best fit based on the answers that they’ve given you. You can still say I’ve got three packages and I can send them over after. But based on what you’ve told me, this is the package for you because it does X, Y, Z, and it will help you to do X, Y, Z. So only mentioned the thing that’s most relevant. So by the time then that you get the pricing conversation, you’ve got what they want. You’ve just given them a best match fit. You’ve given them your best recommendation. So they’re not overwhelmed with information at this point, they’re locked onto what you’re saying, and they trust you as an advisor. So just keep that in mind before you freak yourself out over pricing, is they trust you. You recommended something. You’ve given them a solution to everything that they’ve said, any problems that they’ve got and all of that. So when it comes to the actual pricing conversation is don’t say the price say the investment for this package is because investment implies gain. Whereas price insinuates loss. So we’re going to gain from this, um, the investment for this package is, and when you’re saying the number, like if it’s a long number, one of the things that makes it easier for me to say, if it’s a four figure investment, say the numbers individually. So the investment for this package is three two five four.
[00:16:46] Kris: Wow.
[00:16:46] Sarah Buckland: It’s for you to say, and it’s easier for them to hear rather than 3,524. Like it’s hard to digest for you to say and them to hear. So that’s something that just makes it a little bit easier and also it’s quicker and easier. So it sounds shorter because you’re not getting strung up on the words, like the length of the word. And then when you set the price in digestible numbers, then shhhhh.
[00:17:18] Donna: That’s the hardest part, right? Yeah.
[00:17:22] Sarah Buckland: Exactly. Even if you have to put yourself on mute, do whatever you have to do, but just shut up.
[00:17:28] Kris: What, no verbal diarrhea, at this point. Not allowed to spill out all this blah blah oh if you can’t afford it. Maybe we could do this or we could do this package or if you can’t do that. Yeah.
[00:17:38] Donna: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:17:40] Sarah Buckland: The investment for this package is… how does that sound to you? Silence.
[00:17:45] Donna: Yeah. Love it.
[00:17:47] Sarah Buckland: Give the person room to breathe because you shouldn’t be making assumptions about what they can or can’t afford or what they see as high or low money. Like, we have no idea. Someone might be new into business, but have I’ve just had a massive investment given to them, or they might be five years into business, but funds are tight, you know, you cannot make generalizations about what someone else sees as valuable or not. So you need to say a price stand behind it with confidence, because you’ve just given them the absolute, all singing, all dancing package, the only package that is a solution to their problems. And then you need to just give them time to sit with it and not talk over it.
[00:18:29] Donna: Absolutely. Let, let it land. We say that a lot. Just let things land. And that’s, that’s one of the hardest things I think when we make assumptions about what people can or can’t afford and that we want to fill the space, we want them to be comfortable. And what that does is the adverse thing. It actually makes them really uncomfortable. It makes everybody uncomfortable. So we love that advice, sarah Love it so much. Yeah.
[00:18:53] Kris: Yeah.
[00:18:54] Donna: Yeah,
[00:18:55] Sarah Buckland: The awkward pause it does make people move. So you can’t be the one that moves otherwise you’ll do yourself a disservice. That’s where the talking over, like, but if that’s a problem, we can always do
[00:19:10] Donna: Yeah.
[00:19:10] Kris: Mm
[00:19:10] Sarah Buckland: that’s where discounting often happens. Whereas that person doesn’t necessarily need a discount or want a discount. But if you’ve spoken first and you’ve offered something that they didn’t even want or need.
[00:19:22] Kris: That is a really similar process to what we have in our 12 week academy. We have a module called the ultimate briefing system. And in that we have a discovery call, we call it a clarity call. We keep changing the name of it. Cause we’re like, Ooh, is it a discovery call? Is it a clarity call? But we’ve landed on clarity call recently. Cause we liked that idea of, you know, you’re clarifying the next steps forward in, in being able to provide a firm formal proposal for this client and a contract and you need to gather all that information to make sure you’ve got it right. But, it’s so great. The way that you’ve described it. We’re always talking about designers need to be the guide. Are you a StoryBrand fan, sarah? Yeah. So, the StoryBrand by Donald Miller, M I L L E R Miller. He talks about, it’s really important to be the guide. And and when you step up and say the perfect package for you, the package that I feel is the best fit for you this is going to work for you using that kind of language, it’s very certain. And then they’re feeling very looked after like, okay. They’ve really considered this.
[00:20:19] Sarah Buckland: Yeah,
[00:20:21] Kris: it’s
[00:20:21] Sarah Buckland: Exactly.
[00:20:22] Kris: it’s going to happen. Okay.
[00:20:23] Sarah Buckland: You’re then the trusted advisor, they’re in safe hands. You can still follow up with information they can read for themselves. But you know, that’s still going to go with what you recommended nine times out of 10.
[00:20:34] Donna: Yes, because they trust you that you’ve listened to them. You’ve actively listened and understood their needs and now they trust you. And that’s the most important thing is that you gain that trust through this process, which is great. And I’ve love that you mentioned don’t make assumptions about what people can and can’t afford. And I love that you made the distinction that somebody can be in business for many years, being a really tight spot with their business, because often we just make an assumption. If you’re still in business at that point, you must be doing really well. And if you’re at the beginning of business, things would be tight for you. So I love that. You’ve really made us think about the fact that it doesn’t matter where you are in business, we can’t make assumptions about that. And what you need to do is shine the spotlight on the value of your work and be confident about the value of your work. And that’s it. That’s what you’re selling. That’s what you need confidence in. Not about anybody else, you. that was
[00:21:25] Sarah Buckland: exactly.
[00:21:26] Donna: a really beautiful distinction.
[00:21:28] Sarah Buckland: One of the things that helps with pricing as well. I’m sure you teach this in your academy, but it’s to have some pricing hierarchy in your packages so that if you’re getting the feeling from someone that this is really, really valuable and they need a higher package that you’ve got a top tier package to go to. But if at the point at the pricing conversation, that’s not going to work or they need something a bit smaller that you’ve come down a level and you’ve got those tiers that will allow you to step up or step down to match to, you know, the suitability of the client and the budget of the client.
[00:22:02] Kris: Mm,
[00:22:03] Donna: Great
[00:22:04] Kris: love packages. always talking about packages and helping the students unpack particular packages. Recently actually, we’ve been talking a lot about that cause a lot of, designers, they don’t want to just offer the, high-end deluxe service. They really love the startups and the bespoke businesses that need that nurturing and they’re going to grow, but they’re a bit smaller but were always trying to help designers to price it so that you’re not losing out. You’re not losing out because of what you’re offering. You’re still getting really well renumerated based on what you’re offering. So maybe they can afford that higher tier package. That’s fine. ready for that yet. But they can have this, this, and this. .
[00:22:47] Donna: Yeah.
[00:22:48] Sarah Buckland: From the customer perspective, um, this is where designers need to as much as possible put themselves in the customer’s shoes, the client’s shoes. And remember how little they knew or what they knew from those lists of deliverables before you learn design, how many of those things would you know what they meant? Not many. I know for me I only learnt all the lingo once I’d started doing design. So put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Yes. You’ve talked through why it’s important and why it’s valuable, but there’s still a lot of things in that package that they don’t know what it means or why it’s important, but this is why it’s important to have pricing like three different tiers is because the customer and client will use that as a gauge of which is the best for me, because they don’t know what all of those packages mean. So I know from clients that I’ve worked with, they sometimes can have packages that are all priced the same thing, but it might be like print package, this price, digital package, this price, and I’m like that doesn’t help your client. Have stuff that is varied because they’re using the price to tell them what’s important. They’re trying from here. Whereas you have different levels. You can vary up what things go in where, but just let them choose based on the level that they can see, because they don’t know what those things mean.
[00:24:08] Kris: Yeah, that’s so, so true, meet them where they’re at. It’s an educational as well. We’re always assuming by the time a potential client has gotten to the discovery call phase, there’s already been a bit of education going on so far, like maybe from the initial intake form on the website, from the information that’s on socials, from the information that’s on their website as well. And all those sorts of touch points along the way. So it’s not like a complete surprise, but it is a designer’s job to educate. It really is.
[00:24:36] Donna: it really is. Yeah. And like you were saying, Sarah, by the time you get to this discovery call, it’s a warm call because of all
[00:24:44] Sarah Buckland: Yeah.
[00:24:44] Donna: lead touchpoints that happen prior, they really do know what you’re about essentially. They know your voice, they know your messaging. They probably know a little bit about your pricing, if you’ve had an initial gatekeeper on the initial touch point. So pricing brackets and things like that. So it is warm. They do have this knowledge and understanding. What you’ve got
[00:25:05] Sarah Buckland: going on.
And the more that I know designers can freak out about creating video content as well, or doing talking stories. But the more that you can get comfortable doing that, the easier the discovery call process is going to be because this client or prospective client has already seen you and they’ve built a relationship with your face, and maybe they’ve got to know your accent or what you find valuable or what your dog’s name is or how you drink your coffee. They’ve already got that warm relationship. So they feel like they know you, even if you don’t know them.
[00:25:33] Donna: Yeah.
[00:25:34] Sarah Buckland: treat it as in, they might’ve been watching your stories for three months before they made that call. So they do know you.
[00:25:42] Donna: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s exciting for them, I think as well, when they do get to speak to you in person with their needs. They get about what they need from you based on your zone of genius
[00:25:53] Sarah Buckland: Yeah, cause they might have already seen you work on five different projects that they loved the outcome. And they’d been thinking, God, I can’t wait for my chance to come. And they’ve been excited about this for ages.
[00:26:04] Donna: Yeah, what I love, Sarah that’s bubbling to the surface for me, in everything that you’re saying is, it’s like a paradigm shift you’re spinning on its head. The fear that designers usually have it’s because they don’t feel enough. I’m not enough. My work’s not enough. This is not going to be good enough. And that type of thing. What you’re saying is they’re excited to meet you. They’ve been watching you and almost crushing on you. They know what to expect because they know messaging and your voice, and it’s exciting for them. They’re looking forward to it. So just that little shift of having to show up and, and be, you know, something completely different to what’s already been out there, it’s beautiful. It’s that lovely little paradigm shift. So thank you for that. I hope that is landing for our audience today. Just to know that they want to be on this call with you.
[00:26:52] Sarah Buckland: One of my past clients who were chatting yesterday and she was saying, you know, I still don’t fully understand what my unique selling point is. Like what makes me different to everybody? And for the record, this girl is very successful. She’s built an audience that is well over 10 K followers. She’s been able to up her prices to much the authority that she’s now built. Um, she’s you probably know, but from us in the UK, we have own particular accents depending on where we’re from. So that makes you definable just because people can really hear your difference. So all of these little things, I’m like, you are completely different to everyone else. Hey, stop comparing yourself. Like put the blinkers on just you do you, stay in your lane, don’t watch what everybody else is doing. But between your style, as in your design style, that’s one USP, the things that make you, you, your personality type, your accent, the things that you enjoy on the weekend, those are all things that make you, you and make your design experience. So that’s a unique selling point. People are building relationship with you and what you know, and what you can offer them. I know designers
[00:28:02] Donna: Yeah, love
[00:28:02] Sarah Buckland: can be guilty of doubting themselves and thinking, why am I good enough or why me over everybody else, but let customer choose that. They’ve got the choice of who they can follow. And they’re following you. They’re wanting to see you all stories and your insight. So let them be the judge of who they want to work with.
[00:28:21] Donna: Yes. Love it. Love that. Shout that out, everybody. I really love that.
[00:28:27] Kris: So, their uniqueness was right in front of their face and they just didn’t realize it. They just didn’t know it. That that all you need is you.
[00:28:36] Donna: Hmm.
[00:28:36] Sarah Buckland: We were when we first worked together, cause she was one of the people that I first had an intensive with when I flipped into sales coaching, she’d already known me as a designer and she trusted me. So she was just like, if I’m going to work with anyone, I want it to be you.
[00:28:50] Donna: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:28:51] Sarah Buckland: Yeah. So we worked together and since then, I think she was charging somewhere around 150 to 200 pounds for a project. Whereas now
[00:29:03] Donna: Whole project!
[00:29:05] Sarah Buckland: Whole project, to be fair, it was probably packaged up smaller as just, you know, here’s your logo. Here’s your business cards. There’s certainly other, whereas now she’s told me that she’s pitching for projects that are six and a half k.
[00:29:20] Donna: Well done.
[00:29:21] Sarah Buckland: In about six months she’s just like, at this point, I actually don’t care if I even win this project because the confidence that it took me to even put that number is just she’s blown away.
[00:29:35] Donna: Oh, awesome. Game changer. That’s a life-changing shift. Isn’t it? That’s a game changer.
[00:29:42] Sarah Buckland: And it’s hugely down to confidence as well. being able to back herself to, to ask for that figure and not a talk over it.
[00:29:49] Kris: Yes. And that’s it It’s like, you know, that age old question, how do you raise your rates? How do you raise your prices? You just do it and you back yourself in that. Like, I love that. And it’s really interesting hearing you talk about Designers who are scared on camera. you were talking about reels and stories and that sort of thing before, because a lot of designers hide behind beautiful graphics. Even with their reels, their beautiful graphics and beautiful videos they’re not really getting in there with their beautiful faces sharing their voice and interests and all that sort of thing. And I’m just thinking that if you want to get good at discovery calls, that’s a good place to start. Just show up on, on stories.
[00:30:31] Sarah Buckland: Especially because with stories and reels, you can film it first before you share it. So, if you’re not used to getting on camera or it freaks you out a little bit, or you stutter over your words, you can edit it before anyone sees it. So you’ve got that little comfort blanket. I would always say, try and post the first version. Cause each time you refilm something, you lose a little bit of your, your personality and spark just through repetition.
[00:30:58] Kris: Those one take wonders are brilliant, sometimes I make the mistake of not being ready. Like it might be in my pajamas. I’m just thinking, oh, I might do a real and I’ll set it all up and they’ll just do a little quick riff to see if it’s going to work. And then I go dammit. That’s the best version I’ve got. Not a speck of makeup on and I’m, in my pajamas. And then I tried to do it later and it’s just crap.. Yeah. So, oh, get out there on the reels, get out there on the stories. We want to see your faces.
[00:31:24] Donna: Yeah, I love that advice. That’s a great strategy to build confidence.
[00:31:29] Sarah Buckland: My strategy from the beginning on the design side is because I knew the quality of my work wasn’t going to be as high as other designers that have been doing it years. Um, but doing a good old competitor swats, I could see that people that were on Instagram, not many people at that point were using video content and not many people were showing their face. So I was like, right, well, here’s how I’m going to be different. I’m going to be using video content and showing my face as often as possible from the get-go. ’cause I know that builds trust. So for me, who actually isn’t that confident about my design skills. This is going to mask while I tighten this up in the background.
[00:32:05] Donna: Yeah. Yeah. Well done, you. That’s amazing. I just love that so much, Sarah. Like we said, the confidence that you show in this area is your zone of genius and that’s why the pivot in your business, right? It just makes
[00:32:17] Sarah Buckland: Yeah.
[00:32:18] Donna: sense to Kris I, as observers, people who’ve watched you flourish
[00:32:23] Sarah Buckland: I know you guys have been involved with the full start to end process.
[00:32:26] Donna: Yeah, right. It just makes sense to us like watching you now and seeing you, we actually go look at her, go. This is amazing. So it really is important to build that confidence and, to be doing something that you really believe in. And I think like you were saying in the very beginning of today the foundation of having those really good systems and procedures and knowing have got you that knowing that that is where the value is, help to show up with confidence
[00:32:56] Sarah Buckland: I, don’t not being afraid to make mistakes. Because looking at my journey, I beated myself up almost when I pivoted. Cause I was like, God, why didn’t you see this from the start, Sarah? You know, you just cost yourself six months. You’re behind. You’ve gone too slow. But the community that I’ve built at that time meant that I was able to pivot and I already had those relationships. So don’t ever see a failure or a challenge as something that you’ve lost because you will learn more from the times that it went wrong and that will shape the person that you become.
[00:33:27] Kris: Definitely.
[00:33:28] Donna: so great. So great. Well, um, I, think you know this about us Sarah, we choose a word every year for the, our intention for the year ahead. And as, um, this particular episode will be released in the, new year. We can talk to you about our word that we’re releasing, in the new year. So what, what we’d love to, we’re going to put you on the spot and ask you about your intention for your word for your year ahead. So our word, Kris and I have got for this coming year is attraction. So the way that we’re going to frame it is attract in lowercase and action in capitals. So we’ve been a bit greedy. We have found a word, that’s got two beautiful words within it, and it’s all about this beautiful attraction and the action that is required to make things happen. So, what we’re wanting to ask you is what will your word be we haven’t given you a lot of time to think about it. What off the cuff? What word would you like to have as your intention moving 2022.
[00:34:35] Kris: You can change it.
[00:34:36] Sarah Buckland: That’s a big question. Ah,
[00:34:38] Kris: It is.
[00:34:39] Sarah Buckland: I’m at a point of thinking, right? What, what does uncomfortable growth look like for me now? I can push myself outside of comfort zone. So, so what’s next and really anything is possible. That’s how I’m viewing things is there’s, there’s no limit here. So I would say aspirational. ’cause, I don’t know what direction I’m going to go in yet, but I’m starting to map out my visions and my dreams. And there’s, there’s nothing too small. Like the future is bright. Um, there’s lots of things that I want to do, and that I’m going to be taking positive steps forward from the get go, you know, thinking right. What can I be doing in Q1 that are going to help me support my 2022 goals or my bigger vision goals? So what action can I be taking now? So, you know, maybe that’s a little bit of public speaking here or there, or maybe that’s ah, doing more podcasts, for example, get outside my own comfort zone. So, aspirational.
[00:35:39] Donna: Great. That was a great word.
[00:35:41] Kris: Yeah. that is a beautiful word. We would love you to have your own podcast. Sarah, maybe that’s on the cards.
[00:35:45] Donna: Yeah.
[00:35:47] Sarah Buckland: Potentially with some of my clients who we use voxer, we use voice notes all the time. And they’re like, Sarah, we really like listening to your voice. Can you talk to us on a podcast?
[00:35:58] Donna: There you go. That’s where it starts, Sarah. That’s where it starts, honestly. Yeah. Yeah. And you’ve got so much to share, the wisdom that you’ve shared with us today. We’re so grateful for that. It’s just so beautiful and generous of you to share your time with us and with our audience.
[00:36:14] Sarah Buckland: Listening to your podcast and being like right. I need to write that down. I need to notes.
[00:36:21] Donna: Oh, that’s beautiful. But honestly, I can see you having a podcast in the future and maybe we can reciprocate and be guests on your podcast. I’m sure it’s, I’m sure it’s in the cards somewhere down the track.
[00:36:33] Sarah Buckland: Absolutely
[00:36:34] Kris: Yeah, everybody, you have to follow Sarah on her socials. And, sign up to her freebies and all that sort of thing. What’s the best way people can find you, all your
[00:36:43] Sarah Buckland: Instagram is my second home.
Instagram is my main platform. So sarahbucklandcoaching on there. And if you did want to sign up for my freebie, I’ve got 10 ways that you can be attracting clients on a freebie, ready to go if you want to download that
[00:37:00] Donna: Awesome.
[00:37:01] Sarah Buckland: There’s plenty of the reels, me mocking myself, taking the mick, all that sort of stuff.
[00:37:07] Donna: We will make sure we’ll pop those our show notes so that people can find you and can come and stalk you and have fun and get to know you
[00:37:16] Sarah Buckland: Thank you so much ladies. It’s been an honor to be only second guest. And just to chat to you both
[00:37:22] Donna: Yeah. It’s so lovely to see your face and speak in the flesh. It’s so nice. Well, almost, almost, this feels like in the flesh now, doesn’t it zoom it’s become so second nature now.
[00:37:33] Kris: Thank you. so much for sharing your knowledge today. It has been so wonderful to have you on the podcast.
[00:37:39] Sarah Buckland: Thank you wonderful to be on the podcast to chat to you both and come full circle. And yeah, it’s awesome. Being able to keep in touch with you. And as I go through such a change over the last year, but be able to help more designer’s now such a, such a friendly community.
[00:37:59] Donna: Oh, they are. It is so beautiful to have you in the corner of designers. I think there’s so many designers that are going to just have aha moments after listening to your advice today and get really excited by things that you’ve said and what you’ve shared.
[00:38:16] Sarah Buckland: Take me as a, as an example of what’s possible because I came into the market, really not knowing much about design and my design skills were really not very great, but I’m always the opposite I had, the confidence with, none of the backing, whereas there’s so many designers that have got all the technical ability and they just need the confidence to back themselves
[00:38:38] Donna: Yes.
[00:38:41] Sarah Buckland: So take the confidence of someone that has just taken one course and is now showing up pretending like they know it.
[00:38:49] Donna: I love that. Love it.
[00:38:52] Kris: Yes, definitely follow Sarah for how to be confident and show up on camera so well.
[00:38:58] Donna: So beautifully. Yeah.
[00:39:00] Sarah Buckland: Thank you. Thank you so much, ladies.
[00:39:04] Kris: Have a beautiful day, everybody.
[00:39:06] Donna: Bye bye.
[00:39:07] Kris: bye.
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