All designers with a marketing heart know that when it comes to explaining to their client why you designed the piece the way you did was not because you happen to like purple stars or that you went into a trance and drew up whatever you saw in your dreams last night. No, you actually did some research, you made decisions based on the target market’s perceptive. You came up with a design that was intellegently thought out and dispersed onto the medium before them. Why don’t they get it? Well, we won’t go into all of those reasons here, let’s just say their lack of expertise in the field shields their vision past the point of the fact that they happen to like green stars. Here are some tips that will aid you in convincing your client that your design is perfect and there is no need to go further.
1. Show NO FEAR – Clients can smell fear better than a vampire smells human blood (ok I went to see Twilight last night and I had to throw that in). Be confident in your talent, abilities and skills. It will make you a better designer and it will keep you from getting pushed around by the client during the design process.
2. Remind Them You Are A Professional – There is a reason they hired you. Remind them in ways that point to your experience in the field. Offer examples on how other routes might take the project in a different direction, not necessarily a positive one. Use good business acumen and always be professional. When you have the opportunity to present an explaination to a client by email, phone or in person, know exactly what you are going to say in a very precice manner. Don’t let them catch you stumbling.
3. Gain Their Trust – The best client is the one that defers to you. After all, design is your trade and profession. You don’t see me going to my mechanic and telling them I would rather they put water in my tires instead of air. At the end of the day, your client just wants the design to meet their goals. Keep them focussed on the goals instead of distracting factors irrelevant to producing positive results. Be assertive in a way that is strictly business. Do not get caught up on the design in your discussion with the client. Explain how the design meets their business goals instead of satisfying their personal preferences.
4. Offer A Different Perspective – Clients have valuable information that steers you during a project. Always listen, but recognize when they have hit the wall and are now chasing rainbows. Demonstrate your reasoning by providing perspective that they may have not previously thought; mainly because they are only observing from their own perspective. Show them you are a designer with a Marketing heart and you possess a strong skill in seeing from various perspectives, besides your own.
5. Lead Them In Their Own Direction – There is no better way to simplify the process of convincing your client than to create the idea in their head for them. Asking the right questions before and during the project is a powerful convincing tool. Send a questionnaire before starting a new project. This gives you an opportunity to refer back and show how your design provides solutions for the tasks your client put into writing. During the design process, keep your clients answering questions that lead to convincing themselves that your final presented design is the best choice.
Ingrain the methods listed here into your brain and practice them with every client. You will find that you will not only have better clients, you become a better designer.