My dad always told me, “When all else fails, try the truth.”
There is an inherent truth to the idea that shit will always roll downhill. Usually towards vendors, service providers, subordinates etc. What they don’t tell you is that before shit rolls down that hill it is preceded by grace, thanks, trust, reliance and all of those other things that you give to someone who is giving you or your brand support. The bad stuff only starts to roll once the person at the top of the hill has run out of the others.
The trick then, is to not let the other stuff run out first. There are three main things that your client cares about as far as you, the service provider, facilitates: time, money and results.
The old adage of “Time is Money” is a sticky, funky, truth. Your clients are expecting to deliver to someone; usually higher up the hill. The quicker you can serve, the better. There is a ratcheting effect to this idea though; the bar is set every time you deliver. If you can do it this fast this time, what is to stop you from delivering just as fast if not faster the nest time? I keep my work pace evenly paced to deliver the best results I can within a reasonable time frame. If the client then has a “rush job” I can deliver in a hurry, but always put out an vibe that what I’m doing is special for that situation and isn’t the normal pace. Usually if you stick to your guns, clients will respect you. If they don’t, they aren’t worth your time. Keep company and clients that respect your time and respect theirs. Time is the only currency that everyone has the same amount of in a single day.
Staying on budget is one of the trickiest things in the universe for some people. Before I take on a job, I always ask what the budget it for my services. Sometimes I simply state how long it is going to take for me to complete a specific goal and then ask, “Does that work for you?” More often than not, I get a clear answer of whether or not they need me to pull back on the amount of concepts I deliver, level of finish, or even where I’m going to engage the process. One big helpful tip I got working at my old job was to always ask for a quantity and a budget before moving forward.
Here is the tricky part. A lot of clients are asking you to bid on a project before telling you what it is and so they don’t want to tell you what the budget is so they can get the most service for their buck as possible. At that point, it is just about writing out a clear proposal with a bit of padding for multiple revisions, scope creep etc. and putting a realistic figure to match the work at hand. Usually after you have the job, your client will have extra money for emergencies that might come up and an extended P.O. can be implemented to cover the cost difference.
This part is pretty straight forward. This is your product or service in its best light possible. It is so clear whether or not you’ve hit the nail on the head with results. It is as clear as day and will have a nice hum to it if the quality is there. If you finish something and the quality isn’t there, destroy it and start over. This is a direct reflection of your personal brand and demands your love. This is the thing that is encompassing your life and will not settle for second best. You only get one life. Put your amazing laser focus brain to the task and get it done. When it is all done, deliver it and smile. Your client will always have tweaks and “real quicks” that need to be ironed out. Part of this is the truth that nothing is designed by a single person and another part of this is that people like to put their stamp on something that is coming across their desk. It is human nature. You can’t get too attached to any result you deliver. It is always going to change.
When the project is finished I like to have a follow up. Either with myself or, if needed, with my client. What were the take aways? What was learned? What worked and what didn’t? How can the process be further stream-lined?
Another great way to show results is with infographics. I like to build them occasionally for myself, partners and clients. Here are two I’ve done recently. The first is to show my client at Pinnacle Exhibits how much they saved by using Con Cor Design’s services versus another agency.
The second is a partnership call for potential partners for PolyPlane. It shows how results lead to results. This is critical for selling the idea of growth potential partnerships. Think of this as results marketing.
Both of these are after-the-fact type results and clearly decant numbers and stats in a digestible way that people can grab onto and understand. Results sing to clients and prove your value for future collaborations.
Whether you can expose one, two or all three, these three windows are wonderful tools to show your clients what you have to offer before, during and after a project.