Reassure New Clients & Make an Awesome First Impression

HelloWilson (better known as Rachel) is a graphic designer and illustrator and has departed leafy Oxford for the bright lights of London, although she grew up in West Yorkshire. Having done a first degree in English Literature she escaped a career in publishing to return to her first love of designing and making things.

Rachel’s graphic design work includes print, branding and web design for small and medium sized businesses. Her intricately  patterned illustrations are inspired for the most part by nature, particularly sea creatures. She is especially fond of drawing octopuses. 

Rachel has written us some fantastic tips about reassuring new and potential clients, and ensuring that you make the right impressions from the outset. You can check out her own blog here, and catch up with her on twitter, too!

Lots of creatives worry about gaining new clients, where to find them, what ideas to pitch and what fee to quote, but I’ve found a recurring stumbling block that can threaten a project before it even gets off the ground is client confidence. I work with quite a few new start-up companies and individuals looking for branding, print or web design who haven’t worked with a designer before. Often when a prospective new client approaches me they need reassurance, after all they’re going to be committing budget to something they can’t see or judge the quality of yet.

It seems everyone has a nightmare story to share with anyone considering engaging a professional creative. Designers who don’t listen, who foist work on a client that doesn’t fulfill the brief and then scarper. So it’s essential that you make a good first impression. You know you’re a great designer who will listen, answer emails promptly and deliver something the client will be thrilled with, but you need your potential client to know that too and feel confident that they’re making a good decision in commissioning you.

Like most tips lists this is all common sense but, like most common sense advice, it’s easy to forget. Make sure you’re doing all these things and you’re on your way to winning fun new briefs.

  1. Arrange a no commitment chat – make sure a potential new client realises that just by talking through a potential idea with you they are in no way committing to anything. It’s a good opportunity for you to get to know one another and for them to work out if they’ll be comfortable working with you
  2. Be transparent, explain your process – I find it really helps to explain my design process to the client, making it clear that within it I build in opportunities for them to comment on progress and make amends
  3. Communicate – I’ve won several prospective clients’ attention and confidence just by responding promptly to their initial email; after all it bodes well for the rest of the project
  4. Be approachable – make it clear that you’re happy to answer any question the client has, no matter how random
  5. Be realistic, with your pricing, your deadlines and the service you’re offering. You might think you sound super cheap and efficient but the client might just think you sound too good to be true
  6. Be professional… but don’t show off – It can be tempting to try and impress a client with your encyclopedic knowledge of design but swamping people with jargon can just be plain off-putting
  7. Be confident about your ideas – if a client is unsure it can be really helpful to present yourself confidently and have belief in your ideas (remember: you’re the expert!)
  8. Listen carefully – make sure a client can see you’re really listening to their ideas, ask some questions and make suggestions
  9. Good word of mouth – if you’ve got some great feedback from past clients show it off on a testimonial page. I know they’re a bit cheesy but I know the first thing I do before I buy anything is read the reviews…

Thank you Rachel!

Do you have any hot tips for client reassurance? Or is there a subject that you’d like covered in my working for yourself series? Let me know in the comments!

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