The Hand Talks

Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want*

by Natasha Ellard-Shoefield

Five things design clients REALLY want (but are probably too afraid to ask)

Keeping clients happy is vital to the success of any design agency. Their endorsement of your services and personal recommendation is the easier and quickest way to win more business. But how do you do it?

Clients typically won’t tell you what they really want, what they really, really want. At least not out loud. They might hint at it or suggest it. But it’s often up to you to read their minds. Most clients want…

1. To know that everything is worth it

Clients want reassurance that their investment in design will be worth it, especially if they are unfamiliar with how much it usually costs. Itemise and explain your fees and never allow them to think that you�re pulling the wool over their eyes.

2. To know that you’re listening to their ideas

Many design clients like to feel part of the creative process, rather than merely passing over a brief and waiting for the solution. It can be illuminating and exciting and it helps them understand if costs have to increase and deadlines change.

3. To see something truly brilliant

It goes without saying that any self-respecting client wants brilliant creative. But they also want patience, understanding and professionalism from you, even in the wake of multiple waves of tiny, fiddly amends to the design.

4. To have their vision realised

A genuine willingness to understand and empathise with the design client’s desires and challenges goes a long way. It’s all about fulfilling their brief in a way that’s appropriate to their brand – not massaging your own design sensibilities.

5. To provide the best solution

You are being hired for your expertise in the field. Gather as much information as you can about the brief, but ultimately remember that you’re there to provide solutions, not raise more questions.

Invest time to carry out pre-briefing discussions. These are a brilliant opportunity to ask the right questions and to really get to the heart of what your client wants.

*thanks to Wannabe by The Spice Girls