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Are you in a client battle?

When you look back at old time ethics the saying was the client is always right even when he isn’t. When you know that your website is as perfect as it can be and your client arrives and proceeds to pick holes in it even when there are none, what do you do? There are several options available to you.

You can bow down and do as he says: Probably, with drastic results. Alternatively, you can take the ball and run with it. Be ready with counter suggestions. I am not saying arguments I am suggesting diplomatic suggestions to make him think that the entire thing was his idea. It works for women why not try it.

What I am suggesting is a simple matter of don’t fight, don’t argue, but subtle persuasion.  Usually they will see the light when you have good suggestions stacked up. I know someone who shall be nameless who has a standard website design, which is ok but not great. This he uses as a bait tool. Sounds a bit devious I know, but it works well especially when he has a pet design, he can’t bear to change. What he does is he plugs in the info into the basic website and has it as a stand by. Then he has his good website. And when I say good, I mean really good. This client comes, they sit down and he demos the standard website. When the client starts with his arguments, which he knew would come, he says oh ok you mean something like this: And produces the great website. The results are amazing, from arguments to smiles in 30 seconds. I know it’s devious but for him it works. What he says about it, is he doesn’t want to justify his design. Personally, I don’t think he would need to as he produces excellent work.

There are other ways of achieving a good relationship with your client one of which is always keeping them informed. By this I mean feeding them snippets of info as you go along. This way they will feel part of the on going process and will be less likely to be taken by surprise when you reveal the final product. They will have grown with it so to speak and by doing this they will also feel it’s their baby. They are far less likely to spring any nasty surprises on you if they have been agreeing all the way along. They have become a partner in the project, as it were. By keeping them informed about all aspects both of the items being used but also about relevant web practices you will find they become more knowledgeable about the design process and as such far less likely to create obstacles.

I would do this even prior to getting the contract as the client is going to be far more comfortable with you if he knows you are going to let him what is going on. You want to build a friendship as well as a working relationship.

In the long run, a business relationship that is built on friendship and trust will last you through the years and bring you a great deal more work.

3 Responses to “Are you in a client battle?”
  1. suyee

    I would do this even prior to getting the contract as the client is going to be far more comfortable with you if he knows you are going to let him what is going on. You want to build a friendship as well as a working relationship.

  2. Christopher

    It is extremely difficult to deal with these types of clients. One way to combat this is to layout expectations at the beginning. For example, I always tell folks, I will provide you with 3 iterations of the website I am designing for you. Anything above and beyond that results in additional cost for me to build the site.

    Knowing that up front gets them to decide quickly what they want and don’t want specifically, and results in fewer of these arguments over how it is designed.

    I also let them know up-front, this is what I do. Do you want me to just create exactly what you are saying, or do you want ME to do what I KNOW is right to get your desired result, which may just be getting more hits to the site, or getting their rank move up to show up on page 1 of lookups. That typically helps as well when you remind them they hired you for your knowledge.

  3. Amazing

    Usually when a client arrives and proceeds to pick holes in your website project it is because he wants to justify delaying payment or even deny it altogether. Simple as that. I would start running away from such “non clients” as soon, and as fast as I can.

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