Let’s be honest, no matter what industry people may be a part of, whatever social setting they may attend, whatever relationships they encounter: EVERYONE likes to be heard. Design clients are no exception! More times than not, when I inquire as to why a client chose not to continue working with a former designer, countless clients will tell me that they never felt heard.
The initial meeting often sets the tone for the entire potential project. Design is so incredibly personal; it literally creates the cocoon in which the client feels most comfortable, at-ease and peaceful. This is where they both relax and recuperate, as well as enjoy and make their most cherished memories. As designers, it is imperative that we take time to respect their wishes and requests. The more your clients observe that you ARE actively listening, the more they will feel at ease to speak freely. In doing so, you gain their genuine trust and build a truly collaborative relationship!
So HOW do you ensure that you client feels heard? Throughout the years, I have thought about this question with great intent and as a result, I have a small list that does the trick! Consider jotting these simple tips on a post-it-note as a reminder for your next new client meeting!
- Listen more than you speak, and no matter what, let the clients finish all of their
thoughts before jumping in. Resist the impulse to give them the words, as they
may feel sheepish and decide to pull back from attempting to express
themselves. Initially they may struggle somewhat to find the right words to
describe their vision, but they will get there!
- Drill deeper! ASK your client important questions like, “What does that mean for you?” Sometimes clients are not able to clearly communicate their vision verbally, so these types of questions help to clarify their mental intensions.
- Work to understand their personal design style; utilize the Design Fingerprint
Exercise that I teach – it’s a great device!
- Ask clients directly about their budget, explaining that you’re doing this in order to optimally manage their resources and best understand their project needs and priorities. Do this with ease and without apology. Your comfort with managing the budget to protect a client’s interest helps gain a client’s trust right from the beginning and assures them that you are being conscientious and thoughtful about their wallet!
- Communicate! Keep your clients informed throughout the entire design process.
Simply by keeping these small prompts in hand, you can create a winning experience for both you and your new clients! Best of luck!
Need more tips on building the ultimate designer/client relationship and a profitable design business of your dreams? Check out my game-changing online program, The Successful De$ign Biz Academy! It will give you the knowhow you need to maximize profit and efficiencies, fill your pipeline – all while avoiding common mistakes and soul crushing pressure and as I walk you through how to grow the design biz of your dreams.
For more information, click here.