We’ve all had a client who makes us mutter certain impolite words, but for the sake of professional reputation, maintaining a polite dialogue is important. While there are many challenges to the design process, communicating effectively with clients is a critical component of being a professional designer.
As you learn the art of communicating with clients, you will begin to understand the fact that clients come from all kinds of industries, and you should adjust your communication style and language accordingly.
Here are five tips to help you make the most out of your client relationships:
Tip 1 – COMMUNICATE VERBALLY
A client is paying for your expertise as a designer. Once they have issued the brief, it is your job to produce the best possible design that fits client’s needs.
Instead of hoping to sell your idea or concept, take time to ask questions and get a clear picture of what they want.
Here are a few examples:
a. What is the ultimate purpose of this design?
b. Who are you trying to reach with the design?
c. How will this design be used (flyer, website, billboard, etc.)?
d. How much time should I spend on this?
e. How much money are you willing to spend?
Use that information to develop the design and produce something that will make them happy.
Tip 2 – BE OPEN TO ALTERATION
Don’t be a sensitive artist with a fragile ego. Even if you disagree with your client, deal with criticism of your work in a calm, professional manner. Never disagree without giving a good reason, listen openly and implement suggestions that better suit your client’s project.
Tip 3 – GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT
Often client butchers perfect designs and forces you to rework on something you’d rather put to the recycling bin. Take it as a challenge; give it the same love and attention. Make sure you always try to do your best no matter what project you’re working on.
Tip 4 – KEEP ON THE RECORD
When times are good, contracts might seem boring, but believe me – Handshakes and agreements made over a friendly chat are all too quickly forgotten once grievances arise.
It’s always a good idea to get into the habit of creating contract – for example, if you meet a client over coffee to discuss the project, send them an email afterward containing key product a client is purchasing and quote your fee.
Although you should remain as flexible as possible as you can. In case your client starts ramping up the workload or deny ever choosing the design you have spent many hours tweaking. As per the contract you are entitled to ask for an additional fee and better set expectations.
Tip 5 – STAY FOCUSED
No matter how much of a creative genius you are, if you repeatedly miss your deadlines, your reputation is at stake.
Even if you have many “in progress” projects lined-up. Whatever scenario it is, do everything you can to deliver it on the first agreed deadline.