Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s an older book, but one that I’ve wanted/needed to read for a while now and, after reading about 3/4 of it I must say, every entrepreneur, freelancer, or business person in the world should read and live by this book!
Seriously, you’ve got to read it.
It’s packed with lots of amazing and great information that will open your eyes to how people communicate, how they want to be treated, and what makes them tick.
And found therein is a big secret.
One that has to do with some of the most common problems freelancers and designers face.
Found in How to Win Friends and Influence People is the big secret to getting along with your clients.
What a big deal, right?
Thousands and thousands of bloggers and authors (including myself) have tried to solve the problem of getting along with clients.
There’s just always been what seems like a great divide between what clients want and what creatives “know” is best.
So what’s the secret?
So what advice does Dale Carnegie offer that will help us get along with clients and get projects done more happily?
Here it is:
“Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.”
It’s that simple.
When you meet with your client, well, shutup.
Let them talk.
The common blunder
If you’re like me, you’ve probably done something like this before:
You walk into a client meeting toward the beginning of your business relationship together and bring with you slides or a report of some kind. Found in the report are all the things you’re going to do for your client: redesign their logo, update their style guide, build a branding package from scratch, incorporate it into their web site.
After giving what you deem to be a wonderful presentation, your client brushes you off and begins disagreeing with many of your (obviously great) ideas.
So what happened?
Why didn’t you win them over to your strategy?
Because you did all the talking.
What’s your role?
Who knows your client’s business best?
You or them?
Who has stronger emotions, opinions and connections to the current branding strategy, marketing, design, and strong points of the company? Who knows the history of the business and the path taken to arrive at current branding decisions?
Who is more emotionally attached to the company’s brand than the company itself?
Not even you.
I don’t care if you spend hours and hours researching.
I don’t care if you talked to everyone at the company.
You’re still the new guy in town.
So stop wasting time
So stop wasting time pretending like you know all the ins and outs of the company, what it will take for the company to be successful, what the target audience reacts well to, etc.
Seriously, stop and listen.
And when you think they’re done talking; when you think they’re done telling you about their company and what they need from you as a designer, listen more.
Ask questions and then listen.
And then listen some more.
Because nothing will enhance your relationship with your client more than listening to their needs and their wants and needs.
So next time you’re tempted to talk for most of your meetings with your client, don’t.
Resist the urge.
Listen and you’ll go far.
Winning them over to your ideas…
I know many of you are asking something like this: “If I only listen to what they want, how can I convince them that certain design decisions are a bad idea?
Stay tuned, because I’m reading a chapter in How to Win Friends and Influence People right now that I want to share with you in a few days!
Be the first to hear about it by subscribing to my email newsletter. Plus you get a free ebook when you sign up!
Did I get it right?
Is this the easiest way to get along with design clients? Was I right? Leave a comment on this post and let’s discuss!
(PS: the links to How to Win Friends and Influence People in this post are amazon affiliate links. I make a few cents every time someone clicks through and buys a copy so if you do, please leave a comment and let me know so I can thank you. Plus, I’d love to talk about the book with you more! -Preston)