So far we’ve had lessons on how to pitch, how to convert that pitch into a job and how to ensure you have good client relations during that job. We’ve covered some of the negative attributes that clients might be guilty of and how best to deal with them. Often factors like Penny Pinching or Micro-management will be the source of issues on projects, but now I want to go into how to salvage a bad project hopefully before your client leaves. The first tingling sensation that your project is about to take a wrong turn often comes during the review stage. The client isn’t happy with your work.
One of the major disadvantages of any new client is that there’s a learning curve as to what they will want and what they like. In a normal job you only have one boss to please, and usually it won’t take all too long to figure out what they look for. When you’re working for yourself you have lots of different clients, all with their own personalities and preferences. You also don’t have a lot of time to find these out. Even with a clear brief this might not always be subjective, especially in a field that’s subjective like design.
Everyone’s A Critic
It can be quite difficult if you’re not used to handling criticism when you get negative feedback. This is especially true of small businesses where you know all the blood, sweat and tears that’s gone into getting the sale in the first place. Least of all that all nighter you pulled in order to get them this done in time. Objectivity can be hard to come by…especially when you like what you’ve created. This is the exact reasons why big agencies will have the people who ‘account manage’ they sit in the middle and absorb the brunt of the blow when negative feedback comes in.
The first thing to do is buy a little time. NEVER ever respond back in the same way other than to acknowledge their message. Buy yourself a little time and try and come back and review your work in the most objective way possible. Print out your original brief and see if you’re ticking all the boxes. Sometimes its easy to see something so often, you stop seeing the mistakes.
If you look at your work, feel its hitting the intended brief then you need to open a dialogue with your client. Do not be too defensive. Ask your client for examples of what they’d prefer, what exactly needs to be changed. Remember everything is subjective so the more specific the better.