1 Discover your Teammates
Discovering experts in the fields you require is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many who come across as having the perfect expertise you need, so choosing exactly who you want to work with can be a nightmare. It's important to understand that this is a business transaction; it’s not about selecting your friends with expertise, it's about working with colleagues. Yes, over time you will form a friendship with colleagues, but there should always remain that professional working element which should ensure that it's their reputation on the line as well as yours if they don't deliver for you.
First and foremost, you discover people through recommendations – this is how my clients find me; people trust those associated with those they know already. My work, like that of a solicitor, accountant or financial adviser is invisible so it is crucial that this type of service comes through this channel, but seeking those who, for example, specialise in digital landscapes and visual elements means not just relying on recommendation, but actually researching into what they have produced in the past to ensure that it fits your clients’ needs. Once you discover a supplier you should call one or two of their clients to establish if they are easy to work with – important when they become part of your team.
2 Select Your Stellar Teammates
You may need more than one expert in each field as there is seldom one size fits all. For example, when photography is required you need to choose the best fit. Photographers who specialise in reportage shoots are seldom able to deliver quality portraiture. Designers too come in many guises. Unique conceptual branding – whether evolving an outdated identity, or creating one from scratch – is a real art form. Designers with this talent at an affordable price are hard to come by, which is why many identities look similar to each other. However, there are some super designers who are excellent at utilising a company’s branding guidelines to create a website, marketing documents, etc, so why not use several offering the areas of specialism you require.
In some ways selecting your stellar teammates is no different to choosing your builder, plumber or painter. If they enjoy working with you, they will give you priority, and more importantly loyalty. The difference is if your builder lets you down it's just you, if one of your teammates let you down it's both you and your client and this you can't afford to happen.
3 Deliver a Quality Brief
It really is all about the brief. Spending time with your client and listening to their preferences and dislikes reaps rewards as a good brief to a third party means they too have an excellent understanding of what is required as an end result.
4 Be Transparent
Personally I never add commission to my teammates’ fees. Transparency is key when it comes to costs and I ask them to invoice directly to my clients and I am always delighted for them to continue working with my clients independently of me in the future. If you do charge commission or an introduction fee when using third parties, ensure you include this in your proposal. Clients feel cheated if they discover this second hand.
5 Share the Success
It is very easy to bag all the glory when you have a delighted client, but you should always include those who have helped along the way. Here are a couple of teammates to whom I owe a great deal of my success and have been working with for many years. Once again they delivered stellar performances for both me and my clients recently; the following are just two prime examples of how I, and they, deliver excellence.
Andrew Greenwood, Visual Sense
Commission: Branding for The Laurus Trust
"Words are unbelievably important, and when they apply to design they can literally be the difference between success and failure. The design brief is a vital (but often rare) part of the creative process – it provides the important considerations and boundaries for the designer to work to. For Visual Sense those boundaries are important because we see them as a place where we can move our clients beyond in order to exceed their expectations!
Without doubt, Sally-Anne recognises all of the above and as such provides excellent, thorough and thoughtful design briefs, which is why we love working with her so much. Testament to this is our recent collaboration, which resulted in the creation of aspirational brand solutions for the Laurus Trust and Altius Alliance." Andrew Greenwood
"Working with Sally has been a joy, her professionalism, enthusiasm and creativity have guided us through a rebrand of our Trust and our Schools. Simply outstanding!"
CEO The Laurus Trust
Headteacher Cheadle Hulme High School
You can find out more about Andrew's creativity here.
Paul Worpole - Photographer
Commission: Portraiture Photography for Greystone Financial Services' website
"My photographic brief was to capture the personalities of a number of Greystone’s clients to accompany their stories on the website. The images needed to reflect the diversity of the people who put their complete trust in the firm to manage their finances.
This was a really a fun project to be involved with. Shot over several months, it had us zipping around the county with venues ranging from a famous London restaurant and a renowned brewery, to an amazing piece of architecture and a cemetery. Working closely with Sally-Anne was a real treat; she put together the campaign directly with Greystone and therefore knew exactly the overall look and feel she wanted to achieve, directing on each session. This reduced second guessing...and overshooting on the day!" Paul Worpole
"As a general rule the more exceptional people you have around your business the more successful you are likely to be. Sally is simply that - exceptional at what she does. She brought a complex skill set to the task, part technical, but more importantly an integrity and personability that immediately put everyone at Greystone at ease."
Group MD, Greystone Financial Services
You can read more about the Greystone campaign 'Our Clients Are At The Heart of Everything We Do' and view more of Paul's images here.
If you'd like to see the finished result for Greystone, you can visit their new website here.
You can discover more about the Black Sheep Brewery here.