What If Your Services Could Sell Themselves?

If you’ve been reading my stuff for more than a nanosecond, you know how I feel about the power of niching.

Specializing, if you prefer.

Focusing on your sweet-spot overlap of client, industry, expertise and work mode.

It’s the workhorse that—if you consistently build it into your marketing—will eventually help your services largely sell themselves.

Case in point.

My husband and I are closing on our new home soon. It’s been a long-time dream of ours and we’re thrilled to make it reality.

But the place needs a ton of work and since we’re both busy people, mostly we want to make sure we don’t make big costly mistakes.

So I decided to source a designer to help us with initial wall color choices. I was envisioning a simple in-person consultation—a couple of hours to make sure we were on the right path.

I posted an ad on Thumbtack.com (a service to match clients and local experts) that read as follows:

“I’m looking for a designer for an initial hourly consultation on color choices for the condo we’re renovating (1-2 hours spent on-site with my swatches, photos, etc). Must be comfortable with color and have a clear bent to modern/mid-century modern. May be more work once the initial plan has been completed.”

The request isn’t unlike requests I receive from potential clients—“please help me make sure I’m on the right track”.

I was very specific about the type of color and design esthetic, which is why I didn’t expect a ton of responses.

I got three.

The first was from a designer with a great eye and beautiful portfolio—and he quoted a price of $100/hour. The problem? Every room in his portfolio was white on white. An occasional pop of blue maybe, but clearly using color wasn’t his signature.

The second designer was earlier in her career and had a limited portfolio—most were built around a sort of Pottery Barn-ish farmhouse look. Very sweet, but not the modern colorful design I had in mind. She offered me a flat fee of $250.

And the third was the most seasoned and approached it like a pro—explaining what she’d bring with her and exactly what I could expect. While her portfolio was also missing modern design and more than a smidgen of color, she inspired the most confidence. She quoted a flat fee of $300.

So here’s the thing. The fees were fine—and really if they’d charged twice as much it would easily have been worth it, IF.

IF they could show me that they could solve my problem (what I’m really buying is confidence in making the right paint choices the first time).

None of them made me excited to meet them and I was worried I’d be wasting my time.

So I turned to Plan B. I went actively searching for a local designer who had the look I was going for showcased in their portfolio.

I ignored price completely since the designers I found most intriguing had project minimums of $25,000 to $100,000.

Instead, I just wrote my top choice politely asking if they’d be interested in a paid color consultation.

Bingo! He responded within 24 hours and we’ve scheduled the consult ($350).

I’ve mentioned the pricing in each case, even though it didn’t impact my decision. Because sometimes, it doesn’t impact your client’s decision either.

Maybe, just maybe, your client is looking for EXACTLY what you offer. Not just anyone, but exactly you.

Because you’ve niched yourself right into the perfect spot for your “special sauce”.

And then you don’t have to sell yourself or your services.

We just ask you where to sign.

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