What do you call a designer that doesn’t create for clients? Ah-hem besides broke! 😉 Answer: An artist.
Okay, let me explain… you see, design is a process, not art. Of course art and design overlap, but without function (design), it’s just form (art). And a designer is not a designer without clients to work with, and problems to solve.
You could be the undisputed master of your craft, but if you have not mastered client communication, you will constantly be in need of new clients…or ultimately sticking to a creative hobby just making pretty little things for your mom.
In clients, like in most things, it is the quality, not the quantity that matters. Loyal long-term clients will be your bread and butter. Did you know that on average 80% of your work will come from 20% of your clients?
Building relationships through effective communication will go a long way, but where do you start?
Frankly, people want to work with people they like. They took a chance on your work, but the ultimate test will be on your service. When you treat a client as a friend and not a means for a payday you create a mutual bond that can strengthen as you get to know them and their business more. You wouldn’t want to work with someone who does the bare minimum and treats you like a commodity, right? Neither will your clients.
Once you have agreed to work together, and they have trusted you with a hefty deposit, educate them on processes and be realistic with your project timelines. Make sure you are in communication with them throughout the process, do not leave them wondering where their project is at! Clients LOVE to think we have a magic wand that will whip it all together in 24 hours. Reality check – there’s a formula to design, so let them in on that.
For instance, when you onboard your client, give them the rundown of what they are to expect next. Then on the next milestone, remind them where in the process you are. Treat it as a road map to the ultimate destination. It will create trust and accountability in your work.
Here’s a quick snapshot that you can bookmark to remind yourself of all the do’s and don’ts of client communication. I want you to be successful, and success starts with creating positive experiences!
Start by responding to inquiries and questions promptly, do not make people wait days or even weeks to hear from you. Remember that rule of making them number one at all times? Number ones don’t get messages left on ‘unread’ for days.
You want to ensure you can get back to everyone in a timely manner? –Then be mindful of how many clients you take on at once. You want to be able to finish each project when you say you would (minus any client related hold-ups), while being able to treat each client like they are your one and only; and as the late Patrick Swayze once said – nobody leaves baby in the corner!
At the end of the day, though you may attract a client thanks to your social feeds, eye-catching portfolio, or gorgeous website, you will only keep them when they feel they can build a lasting relationship with you.
Trying to find the right words when writing up a client email can come with a lot of pressure. Let me make it a little easier for you and help make your client emails effortless with the FREE client communication pack! With these easy to use copy/paste templates, you will be able to approach on-boarding, payments, project updates, and meeting requests without sounding like an automated bot!
“Did you know that on average 80% of your projects will come from 20% of your clients?” Yes you read that right!