Don’t do what your client asks you.
99% of the time they want you to do something else.
Being around in the field of (digital) design for some time now got me in contact with a lot of clients. As you might expect, — almost — every client comes to you with a specific task: make a website, a new logo, social content, and so on.
I always did what was asked.
The typical process was something like this:
Client: Hey Do! I would like you to design me a template for the newsletter. We like this and this and that.
Do: Hey Client, nice of you to contact me for this project! Let’s do this. I can make you a template for around X Euro’s.
Client: Sounds good, when is it done?
Do: I’ll email you the first version Monday next week, let’s do 1 feedback round.
Fast forward to Monday next week
Do: Hey! Here’s the template I came up with.
Client: Looking good, if you can swap the second and the third block it’s perfect!
Do: Alright, you’ll have the final version by the end of the day.
Fast forward to the end of the day
Do: Hi! Here’s the final version. You’ll find the invoice for my work enclosed as well. Talk to you soon and good luck with it, can’t wait to see the template in full effect!
Client: Thanks so much Do! We’ll keep in touch.
Sounds like a pretty familiar flow for most of you right? Client asks something, we discuss price and deadline, I make it, client approves it, I get money. Client happy, I’m happy.
With the experience I gained over the past few years I do now think that this process was totally wrong.
Let’s do the above conversation over 2.0 style.
Client: Hey Do! I would like you to make me a template for the newsletter. We like this and this and that.
Do: Hey Client, nice of you to contact me for this project! I’m sure I can make you a template for you, but let’s have a quick call to discuss why you need a newsletter in the first place?
Client: Sounds good, I’m available all day, call me when you’re ready.
Fast forward to the end of the call
After talking to the client the real issue came above ground: over the past couple of years the newsletter conversion rate dropped significantly. The client thought that the newsletter needed a graphic restyle to improve the conversion of it. After asking the right questions we found out that the almost no one opted-in to the newsletter anymore. Why?
That’s what we actually need to find out.
From the above conversation we concluded that making a new template wouldn’t do not that what the client expected it to do: more sales via the newsletter.
So no job for me then? Wrong guess! The above conversation is fictive of course but if it were real I would have suggested the client to let me help them rethink the purpose of their newsletter and get the right people to opt-in to the it, and if deemed necessary making a new template for the newsletter. The client would of course say yes to this suggestion ;)
Four points why I think you shouldn’t do what your client asks you to do.
- It shows interest in your client and the work they are doing
- It makes your work more effective
- It makes your work more valuable
- It can lead to more work
At the end of the road, the conclusion is the same for the first and second example: Client happy, you happy.
Except at the second example the road is probably much longer.
My name is Do, I’m a Freelance Designer and Creative based in Amsterdam. If you want to work together hit me up!