This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Charging for a sales call?

If you're a graphic designer who spends so much time visiting clients, or potential clients, or sitting in meetings with clients, you may have been tempted to charge them for that time. Big mistake. I've listened to a lot of graphic designers who have complained that they waste their whole day running around, and feel that, as a professional, they should be compensated for it. To me that is nonsense.

Consider this - would you pay the salesperson who comes out to talk to you on a used-car lot? I mean, after receiving a bill for "explanation of why this car is better than that car", would you pay it? Of course not. The salesperson makes their money by making the sale. And, chances are, if you are now pondering whether you should charge for your time for sales calls, you just aren't a very good salesperson. Harsh, I know, but probably true.

Sales is a fine art. Some people are good at it (I've known a few people like that) and most people haven't got a clue. They just sit around and talk, talk, talk. That's probably you. So, it's not graphic design that you need to learn more about, it's sales. Here's what you should do:

• Take a basic class in sales. All community colleges offer them. I took mine at Phoenix College when I was about 21. It was not only great for my business, it was a great life lesson.

• Learn to evaluate whether something is worth your time. Yeah, this is tricky. But driving all the way out to Scottsdale through rush-hour traffic only to listen to someone who isn't really going to throw any business your way is a mistake. There is no need to be rude, you just need to tell the person that you have other appointments - which you do.

• Use email. And learn to use short sentences. Be precise. A response to a client inquiry should only take you a few minutes.

By the way, this blog is something that I consider part of my "cost of doing business". In addition to letting me talk about anything I want to, it enhances my SEO on Google, and maybe, just maybe it enhances my reputation as a graphic designer, illustrator, and cartoonist.

Invest in yourself!