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Guide: Freelancers: How to Say No To Your Clients
This article is part of us Guide to Freelancing series “ – consisting of guides and tips to help you become a better self-employed person. Click here to read more from this series.
We’ve all heard it before. The inevitable request from a client to revise a design to make it more … something. The customer does not know exactly what, but they know that what they are viewing on the screen is not quite “there” yet. Sometimes they even confuse you completely with a vague or nonsensical request, like ‘make the black blacker’ or ‘it’s just not poppy enough’.
These kinds of pointless guidelines have become so legendary in freelance culture that, when mentioned out of context, any freelancer who listens cannot help to cast a sympathetic look or shake their head. In fact, there are entire blogs and other creative endeavors focused on the weird things our customers sometimes ask of us; I’m sure you’ve heard at least one.back to menu ↑
As freelancers, we all want to do our best to satisfy our clients and ensure we maintain a good relationship with them. We want maintain a good reputation to get referrals and repeat customers and strengthen our reputationBut sometimes some clients can really test the patience of even the most sacred of designers.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution that many designers often overlook that can alleviate or even completely remove these small professional hurdles. It is called say no
We are going to discuss some of the different situations in which a designer can use this powerful resource in a respectful and courteous way, while still steadfastly holding on to his mental health.back to menu ↑
The Wonders of No.
It’s really quite remarkable, the power of this “no” word. I think every designer should add it to their vocabulary if it isn’t already there. Practice simply saying no to requests that you find strange, incomprehensible, or just plain stupid and see what happens. You can first try it on a client who you know has ‘thick skin’.
Later, you can continue to determine what you will and will not tolerate from the very first meeting with a new customerIn my experience, many clients really only try to get a sense of your communication style when they make a clumsy, impossible request. They may test you to see how much you let them get away with.back to menu ↑
Don’t let your guard down
It sounds awful, but the hard truth is many people will be so naughty when you let them be. They will take the opportunity to scam you or mistreat you to justify underpaying you, or even not paying you at all, if they think they can.
Not everyone is like that, of course, but you can usually tell pretty quickly if someone is trying to scam you for valuable services. Getting your foot on the ground by saying no to the first signs of disrespect or madness will set a precedent for the entire duration of your interaction with your client. First impressions are hard to change, so it’s important that they count.back to menu ↑
Don’t just blurt it out
First things first: When I say designers should start saying no, I don’t literally mean responding to your customers’ requests with a blunt negative. Say no to a paying customer requires a little finesse to keep the working relationship healthy. I recommend that you write down a few comments that you can use as a reference in a future situation.
Something like “I’m sorry, but I need a more specific answer before I can give you what you want” usually works well, and you don’t really have to blurt out “nooooo”. like a two year old (or Darth Vader). To rehearse a reasoned, courteous response to an insane request helps you keep your cool, and it also keeps you on track to reach your main goal of solving your customer’s problem.back to menu ↑
Not a therapist
Clients may be a crazy couple – no doubt about it – but it’s not really your job to take care of them as a personal therapist. You can go ahead and let them be as crazy as they want to be as long as they are clear with you about what they need and how you can provide it to them. And as long as they pay you within a reasonable time, of course.back to menu ↑
How much rope should you give?
Her up up to you to decide how far to take care of your client, no matter what unclear request he or she might think upSometimes it makes more sense to just refuse to continue with the project until you receive a request that you can work with, since you only guess what the customer wants anyway.
And because there is such ambiguity, they can get even more upset if you don’t deliver what they want, whatever that is. Not only will you have wasted your time, but depending on your previous negotiation, you may even be in breach of contract.back to menu ↑
Strive to communicate
You can also take a more ‘onion peel’ approach, testing and rephrasing different questions until you and the client both arrive at a communication pattern that gives each of you the information you need to move on.
This method is certainly more time consuming, and it’s not unheard of for designers to add an extra amount to their review fee (interrogation tax?) If it starts to take too long to get clarity.back to menu ↑
It’s not always the customer’s fault
That’s right, I said it. Sometimes a customer gives you a vague answer … because you asked them a vague questionIt really helps to learn the correct ways to phrase a question so that you get the answer you are looking for. In particular, what I found most helpful in creating clarity is to ask the client to provide me with a clear example of what they need.back to menu ↑
This may take a few tries. For example, if a customer wants a ‘nicer’ font for their website, but can’t exactly articulate what they mean by ‘beautiful’, you can ask them to scroll through a selection of fonts until they find something that is ‘beautiful’ enough for them. taste.
This is an example of what I mention control fluctuationsI don’t know about you, but I like to minimize surprises or brick walls (possible) when dealing with customers. Learning how to Asking the right questions is crucial to get through those unnecessary barriers so you can tackle the important things.back to menu ↑
Designers speak their own cryptic language, and sometimes it can be difficult bridge the gap between what you want to say to a client and how the client will interpret it. As a professional providing the creative service, it is your job to ensure that there is clarity all around. Your customer pays you to fix their problem, and you can’t do that unless you know exactly what the problem is first.back to menu ↑
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