If you’ve been in the business of design for over a year you know that each new client you get is going to be different from the last. Some are more hands on and like to micro-manage, others are so “relaxed” they may take weeks or months to get you material you need to get their design project started/finished. The thing is, you never really know until you start working with them.
The Eager to Get Started Client
These are great at first. They’re so enthused by their vision and business;excited about everything that comes out of your mouth and can’t wait to get the ball rolling. Problems could start arriving as soon as you leave the initial consultation visit. Haven’t heard back from them, no responses in email, and deposit is yet to be paid.
The best way to handle these clients is by setting clear expectations – of them as customers. You set the pace on how the project plan is going to play.
The “I Need it Done Yesterday” Client
You get a call out of the blue from some firm looking to get a new website up and running like now. Whether you take on the project should depend on your current workload but you take it anyway because it’s money. Now that you have, they’re nitpicking everything and what should have been a quick delivery turn around is becoming a nightmare on design street.
When dealing with these types of clients be sure to share your project timeline with them highlighting the go/no-go points that require their acceptance and input.
The “I Trust Your Judgment” Client
Now these could be good and bad depending on how many department heads have decision rights. You’ve got a clear road to do what you need to all the way to the finish line of this project. They haven’t really given you much to work on outside of their logo. But when the time comes to show them the almost finished production they’re not happy with just about everything you did saying they “thought you understood what their direction was.”
The phrase “I trust your judgment” should be your red flag that frequent pulse checks and design reviews will be needed.
The Not-So-Computer-Savvy Client
There are a lot of these out there. Care for them like they’re your one and only. Sometimes these clients have all the ideas to make your project a smooth sailing one. Bullet points, flow charts, great selling examples, workflows, graphics. But they’re all in their head – or at least not in a media format you can use. Trying to walk them through file extractions, email, or other types of technology could be a bit frustrating. But there is hope if you’re within driving distance of them.
Start compiling your own dump folder of easy to follow training material to address your most common questions. You’ll find those training docs will come in handy .
I could go on to name a bunch more, but the moral of this story is communication. It’s up to you as the designer to get into the head (or heads) of those in charge of the business to create something that is a worthy representation of their business. Assuming is never a good option, and neither is procrastination. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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