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Own your client, from the beginning – Setting expectations and making proposals, part 2

When working as a designer outside an agency you might want to make sure that the workflow of your projects go smooth and that you get all the information and comfort from your client to do your best. Setting the right expectations with your client can be crucial in taking different decisions or changing the stream of creative work. Making your proposals pass should not be an issue if expectations are set correctly and both sides do as agreed.

When setting expectations to your client make sure you know what he wants by asking him, filter this through your way of working, schedule and ideas and tell him what you think. Don’t be afraid to confront his expectations or thoughts, it will bring better ideas to the table but make sure you do it in a way that nobody takes anything personal. Bring your input by underlining “why?” and sustain your arguments with references from other projects you worked on. Always have in mind that if he knew how to do it, he would do it himself.
Be sincere, even if you know there are chances your client can lose interest and you might lose the project. There is no point in making design that will never get to be used.

Setting the right Expectations

Expectation have to be clear for both parts and in written, so that there is no chance of misinterpretations. This is a good way to protect yourself by clients that change their minds a hundred times and that expect to pay you once. Design takes intellectual material to get real, and intellectual material has a price. And as a rule of heart, ALWAYS, always under-promise and over-deliver. This way you’ll always be the Knight in the shining armor.

Your proposals should bring what is expected. They should be presented as nice as possible, with simulations every time. Making a simulation is not just a way for your client to see the design alive but also for you to decide if you like it or you need to do some retouching.
If you are not able to present your work in person, than I suggest you to make a scenario of choice for your client. If you kind of know what he wants, you can always add two or three more versions to empower the one he will choose and make him happy with his choice. Be careful though, some people have unexpected personal tastes and can choose the “extra” proposals and leave you speechless.

That’s it for now, stay tuned as we will bring you next episodes with delivery and closing the project by making sure you get paid.

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Ionut B
Author
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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