“[Do] you have any suggestions for a designer dealing with an unprepared client? I tend to run into a lot of new and existing business owners who are not prepared.”
You and me both, Siedah!
Let me share with you 3 tips I use to get my clients on track. And if there’s anything I’ve left out, let me know in the comments.
Be the educator.
Many clients are great at running their businesses but aren’t great at design (that’s why they’ve come to you).
They aren’t familiar with the design process or what you need from them, and often they don’t understand why.
For these clients, I become the educator.
I explain why knowing who their audience is shapes the look and organization of their website or how design elements such color and font change the personality of a presentation.
This is also a great way to upsell your services.
When your client needs a new logo, they’ll need new business cards and social media design. If they want a poster, suggest a complementary handout or an outdoor vinyl banner.
Make them a specific to-do list.
Ever had one of those clients that promises to send you files and never does?
For these clients, I make a to-do list specifying exactly what I need from them, when I need it, and what the consequences are if they don’t follow through.
Hi Marge, I haven’t received the following files from you to design your brochure: <insert list here>. I’ll need all of these by Tuesday to provide a proof as promised by Friday. Thank you!
Put it in the contract.
Be specific about what your client is responsible for, and what milestones require input from them before work continues. This way you can point to the contract when they ask why the project is a week behind: As discussed in the contract, James, I can’t proceed with printing until I receive a signoff from you.
(PS: A note from Preston – I’m currently in the draft phase of a brand-new book about contracts for designers. If you’d like to help weigh in on the process and have a chance to get a free or discounted book, join the GDB insiders group on facebook!)
How do you deal with unprepared or unorganized clients? What tips can you share? Leave a comment on this post and let’s talk about it!