Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to remember how far we’ve come in ten years. We’ve worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes and no matter how big or small they are, they all of have one thing in common – the ambition to be the best.
Working with such a diverse range of clients, in a crazy amount of sectors keeps us inspired and hungry for the next challenge. That’s why our clients love working with us and continue to use us for years after their first project.
To get the best out of every job you need to keep a team hungry for more. A team who want to work on that next great project. That also means you need a client that can be giving, open, honest, and brave.
Awesome clients share similar traits.
We’ve worked with hundreds over the years, every one of them with a different quirk. But what makes them awesome? We’ve created a light-hearted ‘Top 10’ list of what makes the perfect client. Why not see how you stack up?
A good client takes the time to talk, share their budget and project requirements, they don’t hold things back to ‘see what you can come up with’. They share their insights in order for you to gain the best understanding of what they’re looking to achieve. They spend time answering questions and putting together a comprehensive brief so that no stone is left unturned.
A good client doesn’t question your costs, they’ve read your well-constructed proposal and understand where your time is going to be spent.
Of course, everyone has a budget. So if the costs are slightly off you need to sit down, talk it through, and be open to scaling back or phasing a project in order to achieve a more agreeable cost.
A good client understands that life gets busy and that the best design decisions can’t be rushed. They respond to emails and turn up to meetings. They understand your timelines because you’ve been clear from the off. A client that values your time will always get the best work from you.
A client should fully understand your payment terms because they’ve read and signed your proposal, so payments at key points in the project should come as no surprise. Any client that asks for speculative work or freebies isn’t one that values you, your work, or your time.
A great client is one that listens. They’ve come to you because you’re the professional, they’ve seen your work, have your references, and are open to gaining from your wealth of experience. A client that listens and takes time to understand will always get the best work from the team.
A dream client gives you the freedom to do your job to the best of your ability. They might suggest changes and challenge your judgement but they do this collaboratively, they don’t dictate.
A good client is brave. They put their ideas on the table and will let you run with them. They encourage you to challenge them as they know that you thrive off doing the work you love to do.
A good client might continue to challenge ideas – that’s no bad thing – but they should always value your opinion and take the time to understand why you have made the decisions you have. In return, you should do the same. Always take time to understand their thinking and work hard to keep conversations open and honest because you both want the same thing – an awesome result.
The acid test of a working relationship is trust. A client is paying you upfront to create something that they will love. They’ve entrusted you with their baby so you should show them a level of respect with open and honest decisions. In return they should trust your choices, your integrity, your experience, and understand that you always want the best for a project, but that you can only do the best kind of work with the freedom to make a decision.
All too often we’re wrapped up in our world of work, finishing one project off and moving on to the next. The same can be said for clients. But one thing that all awesome clients have in common is the ability to reflect at the end of a project. It may have had some ups and downs because both parties were challenged, and because boundaries are being pushed. An awesome client recognises this and understands the time and work that has gone in to creating the end result. An awesome client picks up the phone or drops you a quick email to say ‘thanks’. They don’t want anything else, just to let you know that they are happy. After that you can go home with a smile on your face, ready to face the next day with the same passion as you did the one before.
Oh and if you want to send a crate of beer, that’s fine too!
No one expects you to score a perfect ten out of ten, but every little helps. Support your designers ideas, be brave, be bold and you’ll be astonished with the results.