If you watch my monthly Thursday Talks with Marie Rood on Instagram you are aware that we discuss building relationships often. I also mention relationships on my Thursday Thoughts post too. I guess Thursdays are when I start removing my Soldier hat and start placing my entrepreneur hat on. Sometimes I feel like I have them both on at the same time and that my friend is an interesting dynamic. Throw in my mom and wife hat and we have ourselves a whole party!
You’re probably wondering what’s the significance of the photo, don’t worry it all ties in, bear with me. Anyways, back to relationships with clients. Any relationship includes giving and receiving, understanding and communication. The relationship that you build with your clients are no different. I understand that you want to just do your job because you are the expert right? You know what’s best and you want to give them the best, it’s ok to think that way. However, you have to remember that once you hand off that product to the client it is theirs. In my case whatever logo or brand material that I create for my clients, represents them and the have to be comfortable with it. Make yourself open to giving advice and feedback as well as receiving it. That’s the give and receive of the relationship.
Now, it is not ok to receive information without understanding. Ask questions if you don’t understand. No one is going to fault you for asking for clarification. They will be more upset that you didn’t clarify and gave them something they were not asking for. Also understand that it is about the client. As previously stated, they have to live with what you give them once the contract is over.
Lastly, communicate. I find myself often saying, “In a world with hundreds of ways to communicate we are poor communicators.” I am a millennial and I know that digital communication is a huge thing however, digital is not the only way to communicate. Sometimes you have to use your phone for what it was created for, talking. Even I tense up at the thought of having to talk vs. text. I’ll even take it one step further, go meet people face to face. (I’m probably going to get kicked out of the generation for that one LOL) It is ok to have “old school” interaction. Be present while you are communicating and listen. I guarantee it will make the other pieces of relationship building a lot easier.
The client-designer relationship is much like the bee-flower relationship. Flowers produce pollen that feeds the bees just like the client produces revenue that feeds your business. Bees pollinate flowers to help produce seeds and you, the designer, create products to help the client generate more business. See how it all ties in? Have a great day!