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Guide: How to Convince a Client: Tips
As a freelance designer, you know your main goal is to keep the client happy. But what happens if the thing that makes your client happy is something that you as a designer know is a terrible idea? It can be impractical, too expensive to implement, useless to the customer’s business, or just look ugly or unprofessional. Nevertheless, the client is determined to get his or her way.
We’re going to look at some of the ways that you, the designer, can actually reverse this situation so that your client considers and approves your superior design solution often. And everything without hurt feelings or any unethical behavior.back to menu ↑
Are you really making it better?
The first thing to determine with 100% clarity is whether or not the design solution you are proposing is actually better than the one the customer wants. Most designers have a better idea of what will work in a design than the average freelance client, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.back to menu ↑
Sometimes a designer may think that he is improving a design while the client is right when he is indignant with the new changes. Remember, design is more than fonts or cool graphics – the solution that comes to you up with must be viable for the customer’s business and help them get the financial results they seek.
For example, if your client is a pediatric dentist and wants to address kids with a whimsical, cartoonish brand identity that you find disgusting, you could run into her if you try to make too many fundamental changes to her idea.back to menu ↑
It’s more than just design
If your style is more reserved and minimalist, you can try imposing your idea of ’good design’ on her company without regard to the audience she is trying to reach, she may be rightly upset.
Yes, your design may be objectively ‘better’ from a designer’s perspective, but in terms of solving your client’s problem (appealing to children and easing their fear of the dentist), it’s a total failure . It is important to Always keep the client’s business objectives in mind, even if they are not listed in the design brief.back to menu ↑
Beat the letter
Now let’s take the same dentist client and put a different spin on her dilemma. You understand what she wants – speak to children and make them less nervous – but you know you have a solution that would accomplish this goal much better than what she has in mind. How do you bring her to your side of the discussion?
Before I proceed, I have to warn you that this type of solution will take more time and effort on your part than you may be used to. But it will yield much higher success rates to get through to your customers, and they’ll rave about you for years after the job is done.back to menu ↑
Follow the design instruction
Okay, so what’s the solution? Well, first Ã ?? Â¦you do exactly what she wantsThat’s right – with your design brief for you and your client’s explicit instructions to design something based on her awful, ugly, unprofessional idea, the first thing you do is fire up your computer and create her “perfect” solutionNo, it is not beautiful. Yes, you are going to hate it. But do it anyway.
If you show up going to a client meeting without the work she specifically asked for is likely to upset her, and upset customers are impossible to negotiate withSo do what’s expected of you first.back to menu ↑
Sell your idea
After you’ve done what the client has asked for, it’s time to introduce her to a new concept – the one you know is better. But you want to do more than just produce a new version of the work as you think it should be presented. It is also important to sell your customer on your idea.
If your client is adept at design, simply present the two ideas side by side will be enough to convince her that yours is better. But as we all know, most clients need a little bit of persuasion. Make notes about it what exactly the differences are between your idea and theirs, especially noting how your version can better solve their problem and help them achieve their business goals.
Customers love to hear how something can help them make more money, so if you do have data or numbers on the back up your claim, now is the time to use them.back to menu ↑
Get that green light
Most designers get involved in a project more than just technically. Completing a creative work requires an emotional investment, and it is not at all uncommon to be a little defensive about the choices you have made in a design, especially if you think your client just has no idea what he is talking about.
Sometimes you come across customers who simply refuse to see things your way. In these cases it is best to just please them as best you can, collect payment, and continue. But often customers are more than willing to let themselves be convinced if you master the right language.back to menu ↑
Be sensible in making your case
As they say, communication is key. I’m going to take that adage a step further here and I say so correct communication is centralAnyone can say anything, but in a meeting with a client, it is essential to express your ideas in terms that make sense to them to keep the upper hand.
Not that you have to resort to manipulation. This is all about the customer’s business and what is really the best solution to help them increase their profit margin.
Most customers will too appreciate your attention to detail and willingness to assist them discover an approach that is very effective. As I said, this kind of ‘above and beyond’ working method is exactly what quality clients look for in a designer, and that is which will inspire them to give you the shining testimonials and references you’re looking for.back to menu ↑
Leaving the ego behind
Finally, I’ll be blunt here: If you walk into a meeting with fundamental changes that are clearly not pre-approved by your client and get upset, that probably has something to do with your ego.
I have worked with designers before (luckily not many) of whom arrogance and high self-esteem made it impossible to work withThey felt that I had been lucky enough to work with them, and that every change they made to my design brief was a blessed improvement.
You don’t want to be this designer.
Nobody likes that kind of behavior, and clients do talk to each other about the contractors they hireNo customer will pay you for one dronebut finding a healthy balance between your expertise and that of your client is essential.
How do you deal with conflicts with your customers about the design process? Are there any useful ones tips did you learn along the way that you would have liked to know before?back to menu ↑
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