Generally, there are two types of successful business ends: the first type is a one time relationship that ends after the project is finished. The second type lasts for long term and the client keeps going back to you with more projects. Both types of business relationships are successful because the project is done to the client’s satisfaction. But the second type is actually more beneficial because in addition to more revenues, you gain the client’s trust or may be a friend who can collaborate together for the success of both your businesses.
This long-term relationship between you and your client does not come just because of the success of the project although it is an important factor to achieve it. If you only concentrate your vision to this point, you may not get the desired results unless you are lucky enough.
The designer-client relationship starts even before you meet your client. We will see in this article as I will try to cover briefly the basic characteristics of the designer-client relationship and improving this relationship through its different stages.
When the Designer-Client Relationship Starts
As mentioned earlier, the client relationship starts before the project starts. Even more, it starts before you know the client or meet him. Usually, the client reaches you through your website; portfolio or through your resume that you submitted to different hiring sites. This is actually how the relationship starts.
The client usually draws a first impression on you, your work and experiences through these three methods: your site, your portfolio and resume. This is the reason why you should consider this before you start to prepare your website or work samples. The client will filter you from different candidates based on number of factors as the job requirements. But there are general guidelines that you should consider when you start advertising yourself such as:
Focus on Resume
Client does not have enough time to read about your life and the different achievements you did in school. The client wants you to know that he needs to see your skills related to the job you are applying for. However, it is a good practice to keep focused and prepare your resume in good order when the client sees the most important information first than the less important.
Your portfolio or work samples are the fastest way to introduce yourself to the client even without looking at your resume yet. Let your work speak about you and tell about your skills, talents and experiences. You do not have to showcase every single design you’ve done, just point to the client your best works that are related to the job needed.
It is obvious that you cannot say to your client that you have good language or communication skills when your resume is full of typos and slang language. This will give an impression that you are not a professional and you are a careless person not a detail oriented person that they are looking for. Even if you insist in your resume that you are an expert in your career, you cannot prove it with all of those mistakes that they have seen.
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During The Project
Most of us already know how the relationship between you and the client would go through in this stage because it is all involved with the project itself. However, every professional designer knows how to manage this process, how to make the client satisfied and build a good working relationship through this point.
Below are some important things to consider while working with the project to maintain a good relationship with your client through the project:
A good understanding on the project is very important in working on it without no jams or difficulties. A good communication includes the ability to be calm through the project’s trouble time and go over it rapidly to finish the project successfully.
If you are not working with the client in the same location or company, it is good to be available and reachable most of the time. This makes the client feel comfortable that he can approach you in times of difficulties or when needed. This availability can be through online chat, email or telephone communication.
Obviously, the work quality and meeting the specs helps in building trust between you and your clients because this is actually what the relationship is all about. If you could not provide your client what is required, then this will be the end of the working relationship even if you cared about all the other points mentioned here in this article.
Meeting the deadlines is also an important point in gaining your client’s trust in further projects because the client will feel that the project and any further projects are in good hands.
After Project Relationship
Another missing step in the way to build a good working relationship between you and your client is the relationship after the project is finished. Even if there are no upcoming projects, there should be a connection that gathers between both.
This step is important to make your client think that he is really valuable and you welcome any further projects. It also keeps you in the client’s mind to consider you in next jobs or even recommend you to other clients/companies.
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Here are some tips to keep the relationship between you and your client running smoothly after the project is done:
Ask for a Feedback
This is a good point that shows you are not only concern with the money but also the quality of your work. Ask your client to give a feedback about the project and how to improve the process in further projects or ask about the comments about the job in general.
Keep in Touch with Your Client
Communicating with your client after the project is finished is a good idea to keep the relationship between each other such as updating your client with your updated skills. Many people do this point in a wrong way that appears like begging for new projects. This gives a bad impression to your client that you do not have a job which can make him under-estimate you and your cost in the next job.
Another way to keep connected with your client is to send a greeting card in special events and good wishes. This gives the relationship a little warmth which will give a good impact in your further business together.
Finally, building the designer-client relationship can be very profitable because it helps understanding each other, which is reflected on both of your businesses. However, it takes time and effort to build this relationship which is mainly based on the comfort between you which will turn to a good working relationship or may be friendship.