Effectively conveying any form of information to your clients is not only good practice, but it is vital. If you’re not equipped with the right communicative skills, then you’re more likely to loose clients rather then gain them. Whether it’s you or your client that takes the first step in communicating, you need to understand that this is the beginning of a relationship.
Like any relationship, if you don’t convey your thoughts and feelings (likes/dislikes) the right way, then the relationship will eventually die out. Same goes for you and your client.
Within this article we have taken the time to dissect a variety of tips that will help you convey information to your clients the right way. Let us know which practices work best for you!
Unless you’re working in a design firm or you advertise your phone number freely, then my guess would be that the main and the most important form of communication between you and your clients is emails. Although emails are key in the process of communication, they can also be a detrimental factor if not used correctly.
You should always make sure that you’re straight to the point, keep it as simple as possible, avoid a marketing tone of “voice”, and tacky lines. Conveying confidence is also important. If a client can’t sense confidence, then in most cases they won’t be confident in your ability to complete the project.
Sending out a generic email which you’ve sent to 100+ potential clients is far from professional. It’s ok to have somewhat of a template or guideline as to what you’re going to email, however, you should customize it to specific client/project needs.
Use Your Listening Skills
I don’t know how many designers I’ve come across that do more talking than listening. They jump at every opportunity (even when it isn’t given) to talk about their services, what they can do, how they can do it, and the benefits. You don’t want to be that designer. You want to be the professional who’s going to take in and understand your clients needs and address them accordingly. Besides, they’ve most likely already seen your portfolio and they know what to expect.
Give the client time to express their concerns and ask questions. When it comes time for your client to listen, you’ll be prepared and you’ll show them that you do care.
You can talk all you want, but if your client is not understanding you, they will look for a designer who will. A majority of the population in actuality have no clue as to what really goes into a website or logo design. This is why it’s our job to elaborate and use effective explanations. For one, you will better educate your client, and they will have a bit more insight as to why it is we charge what we charge.
Referencing back to the above section, you must also make sure that when you explain something to your client, you don’t over word or extend your explanation. Keep it simple and easy to process. This is key to a healthy, communicative, relationship.
One of the most overlooked aspects of the communication process is refraining from asking questions. It is my belief that there are no stupid questions, we are the only ones that can make them invaluable or “stupid”. Sometimes the simplest question you can think of, is likely to save you or your client money. Here’s an article that was written a few months ago which addresses the need and also the questions to ask about your clients and the projects you’ll be commissioned to work on.
Questions are important, they’ll help you further understand and define the needs of a project. However, you must also know how to convey your questions the right way so that you don’t hinder the opportunity to work with a client. Right before you’re about to ask your questions you should reflect on what your client has told you a bit deeper, conduct some further research, and remember to word your questions as easily as possible. This will help you avoid questions that have obvious answers, and convey the message that you haven’t been listening.
You can take this question: “I Normally Use PayPal With All My Clients, What Do You Prefer To Use?” and reword it to this: “What is Your Preferred Method of Payment”? It’s the same question, just easier to process, and it gives the client to describe various possible method of payments rather than thinking they strictly have to use PayPal.
Take Advantage of Helpful Tools
There are a ton of tools that will help you convey information to your clients. Twitter, Facebook and Screencasts are just a few of the tools you can use to better communicate. Sometimes phone conversions, emails, and other conventional methods may not work and your client is still lacking full understanding, this is where you could use a screencast to really get your message across. It’s easy to make, quick, and many times extremely informative.
Twitter is more of a Social Media tool, however I’ve heard of designers using this tool to send quick and small updates to their clients. Facebook is also another social media tool, however, much like LinkedIn, it provides professional connections and you can chat as if you were face to face.
Whatever tool or route you choose to go, the important thing you must remember is how will this tool help me convey information to my clients?
Your Turn To Talk
I hope you liked this post. Any other tips you’d like to share that could help better convey information to clients? Feel free to chime in by leaving a comment below.