Client love guide – be the expert

Be the expert that your clients hired

After listening to your client {+ I mean really listening}, one of two things can happen. Your next move can be to make the client happy right this second or your next move can put the client in a better position. Now sometimes the two overlap, but rarely if you start by people pleasing out of the gate.
I know, it’s a bit vague. So let’s drill down with examples.
Say you are a designer who presents 3 great layout options to a client + during the Skype review, they respond by saying something like “we think the first 2 are fun, but aren’t exactly what we wanted. Can you use this website since we know we love the way it looks? Swapping out the logos + our copy shouldn’t take that long.”
A bit dramatic, but that’s how I roll. So keeping with our improv theater, if you were the people pleasing type {most of us are, it’s not a bad thing}, you would likely say “sure thing” in one way, shape or form. Doing your part to avoid blatantly ripping off someone’s design but wanting the client to be happy so they refer you to others.
But are you looking out for the client’s best interest in the end? Did that layout have all of the features your client’s site needs to thrive? Is the layout suited for your client’s demographic? Maybe some of these things are a yes, or close enough. But is that what you want your business to run on?

Is “close enough” good enough for you?

If not, choice #2 is a better bet. After the client makes the request to spruce up an existing design, you reply with “let’s talk further about the layouts you liked, along with this example. Putting the pieces together about what resonates with you will get us to a final product that you will love. One thing that layout 1a does is showcase the benefits of your product, where the site you love the look of is about making it easy to watch videos. Since your company doesn’t use videos for marketing, that emphasis wouldn’t help as much as the product slideshow I designed.”
Is that more words + therefore more work? Yeah. Do you have to be a bit more vulnerable yet confident to say those things? Absoutely. Will positioning yourself as the expert you are with the knowledge that you have benefit both you + your client? Fuck yes!
Because at the end of the day, your work, results + clients speak for you + your company. If you sit back quietly without offering up your expertise, you are going to continue to get clients who don’t want to listen to your ideas or don’t see your value compared to others in a similar field.
I could go on + on about this topic, about how now + then saying “sure thing” is the right thing to do for everyone along with why we all need to be a bit more confident in general, but I at least want to get your gears turning.
Are there areas of your business where you consistently shrink or keep quiet? Do you find yourself lacking confidence when clients or leads ask a similar question? What would help you feel comfortable being able to reply or lead the conversation?
Because sometimes owning being an expert for your clients is as simple as putting on your favorite song before a meeting + a sassy pair of shoes, other times it means learning a bit more about the alternatives so you have more data to share, or maybe it means picking a path/skill/area to be an expert in. It’s different for all of us depending on the day of the week.

As long as you remember that your clients are hiring you for a reason: you have something they don’t – a skill, talent, resource, some information, etc. which is why you are an expert + why it’s ok to behave like one.

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