There are many kinds of clients which graphic and web designers have to deal with. Some are nosy, some think they are very smart, some just don’t understand a thing, the list goes on.
Today I’ll categorize them all and tell you a few tips for dealing with them; I learned these tips and tricks through some personal experience in my career.
Before we go into the client’s psyche, we should get to know a few things which should be finalized before one makes a commitment.
Things to Finalize
This one is vital for freelance web designers. Freelancers mostly convert the graphic design into HTML site themselves. If you are such a guy, you need to know the exact amount of data otherwise you can get in trouble. I remember a client once told me that they needed to put some pictures of their NGO in a flash based gallery, I agreed (no big deal). I received a DVD of more than 1000 high-resolution pictures. It was stupid of me not understand their need first. You need to know:
- how many pages will the data take
- how large site-structure is required
- what would be the total volume of the site.
One of the first things we need to figure out of a client is his mentality, his likes and dislikes. Some guys just love dark backgrounds, some don’t. Show your clients a lot of examples from the internet and try to observe their preferences. Some like gradients and old school graphics, some like solid colors. Some want a lot of animation on their site but some just want their site to load quickly. The problem is they will not be able tell you all this. You’ll have to figure it out. With corporate clients where you can’t judge a person, you’ll have to rely on your common sense instead.
A client does not know the technical aspects. You will have to determine his needs. I created a formula which you can use. The formula is “how frequently the site will be updated”. If it needs a frequent update, you should use a CMS, like WordPress or Joomla. If it doesn’t need a frequent update, just go for HTML-CSS. If you make this decision right, the rest of the pieces will fit themselves.
How much to ask for, that’s a big issue. One thing I have learned is to never bargain. Once you tell a price, stick with it because if you lower the price (even to the minimum), the client will still feel that he is being overcharged. Another tip here is that you should charge marginally a little high to the clients who don’t know much about web. That is because they are gonna ask for things which are not included in the package, and when they ask for it, such as a message board script, you should have been paid for it.
The Nosy Kind
Now let’s come to the types of clients. We are starting with most difficult of clients. These are usually the most demanding kind. They try to prove that your design is not “that good” or has problems with this and that. You can have an intuition that this client will be a headache in the first meeting. Their identical mark is that they will cut you off a lot.
At the start of your career, you’ll have to deal with them. And it is good thing actually, they build your temperament.
Dealing with Them
The first thing is you finalize all the details of the order including time of revisions (which should not be a large number). Your payments should also arrive as the design progresses. Whenever they make an unfair demand, you just say that it isn’t in the contract, a cold flat NO. That’s the only way to do deal with them.
The nosy ones are usually the proprietors but there will be many times when an IT professional will come to you for a web design. This guy can be working on behalf of a company or he might want a website for himself.
Dealing with Them
There’s an old quote in IT “can’t convince them, confuse them”. Don’t ever try this method on IT guys. They’ll never fall for it. You ought to stay very genuine and truth speaking person with them. They understand your needs so you can be free with them.
They are the clients you wish to have. They got the money and they are willing to spend it. Once such a client enters your office, here’s how you deal with them.
Dealing with Them
First of all, they need their VIP protocol. You give them that. They’ll call it a proper customer support.
They won’t evaluate your design themselves, they ask for expert opinion from third parties. So keep in mind that this site will be judged by the pros, make the design a very modern one.
There still are several things left to say but the article already got long enough so we’ll learn them some other day.