About designers, clients and money
When Dud’s questions from the series “how much did this project cost” or “what is the price for your services” slip through in business or personal correspondence, in most cases I leave the answer.
In my opinion, from the side of the questioners, this looks at least unethical. On my part, the answers will most likely turn out to be incorrect.
In Russia, everyone is used to counting other people’s money.
With designers, everything is clear – they probe the market, pursuing one goal: to understand their position among others and to try sensibly (or not sensibly, which happens more often) to build a price-quality ratio, starting from competitors.
Clients are more complicated
This is what I want to talk about. If you read the previous article, then remember, in it I divided people conditionally into two types: lazy assholes and people who know what they want. So, clients are also successfully divided into two categories:
- Freeloaders (those lazy assholes)
- Serious clients (know what they want)
Let’s consider them in more detail.
Freeloaders can give three times a head start to all residents of Arab countries, gypsies and beggars at the foot of the temple. These guys love bidding, they are superficial and all they want to know is how much your project will cost. More precisely, they care about whether the price they want to hear will be announced or not. Neither the details nor your approach – they are not interested in anything. Only the price. Ideally, her absence (this is the erotic dream of a freeloader)
If you once break the heart of such a client, he will not forgive you for this act for a long time and will mercilessly shit in the comments, run after you across the Internet and, like a 14-year-old teenager, throw threats that will laugh at any adult resident of social networks. The situation will worsen if this happens while working on a project (God forbid you get into such a story)
When such guys write to the mail, they by hook or by crook dodge full-fledged communication, so I either ignore them or say that we will not work together.
Important: from the first letters you can often see the mood, adequacy and goals pursued by the sender.
By the way, in my experience, the typical portrait of freeloaders fits the young share of the BM party, or rather, young narcissistic boys who believe that now they can do everything – and their arrogance and assertiveness knows no bounds. These are the same guys with cute faces for modeling agencies.
Often our correspondence with them ends with the fact that I find myself on the black list – they are furious if you refuse them, just as when they cannot respond to messages instantly. From the outside it looks funny and sounds like a cheap circus.
If you want to save money, choose ready-made solutions
If the customer needs ready-made “clothes” and “image” – the road is the road to H&M, where hundreds of variations will be offered. By the way, I love H&M, so don’t think that I want to offend someone by comparison. I just want to be realistic.
To look for a good option in the mass market, you will have to spend time (do you recognize shopping?) And measure a lot. Sometimes you will freak out – and it is not a fact that you will leave the shopping center happy. It is not a fact that after 3 days the shoes will not fall apart, and a manufacturing defect will not be found in the blouse.
If you want to sew something to order – come to a private master. And he will never give you an exact price. He will take measurements, understand what kind of fabric to buy and where to bring it in, how much of this fabric is required. Whether the look you want suits you or you need to choose a different suit. Whether he can do your job or not.
So it is in design. There are a lot of people who like to save money and freeloaders.
Here are small collective images:
“Good afternoon! Tell me, how much does a landing page for 7-9 blocks cost?”
Letter from a freaky freeloader:
“Good day! We need a landing page for blocks XXX, budget – XXXX rubles. Term – 2 days. “
Letter from a freaky freeloader in a square:
We need a landing page for blocks XXX, budget – XXXX rubles. Hand over tomorrow. Send your work if you are interested. You also need to perform a preliminary test (not paid) “
And this is how the second letter often looks:
“Yes, it is understandable, but still how much do your services cost ???! We need to understand the assessment of the project “
The second letter from a freaky freeloader in a square:
“It is very expensive. Maybe you can make a discount? And we will order another one more times and in general we will become regular customers. All the same, your work is great and we liked it “
2. Serious customer
A letter from a serious client looks different.
First, he understands that there is a price fork. Secondly, he will tell you something about his niche. Of course, from the examples of the letters above, I come across adequate people, and there were such people in my practice. But these are rather exceptions, so you shouldn’t rely on luck. After the second or third letter, you will still understand who is dick
Let’s plunge into the very letters that shout at you “Dude, don’t miss a good order!”
I found your works for Behans and I really liked them.
Our company is engaged in “…” and now we are bringing a new product to the market, so a landing page design is required. The prototype is already there, I attach it in the attachment.
Please give a rough estimate of the money and time
Thank you best regards YYYYYY
Or like this:
My name is XXXXXX and my colleagues and I are engaged in “…”. As the company grows, the need arose for its own website. We have prepared a preliminary technical specification for the site, attached it to the letter, please read and if you are interested in this project, we will be happy to discuss the details.
Thank you in advance.
XXXX XXXX, company manager, tel. +789 456 12 45
Do you feel the difference? In general, a letter from a serious and interested client sometimes looks like a small article. And I believe that this is correct. Because such people are interested in quality, they know why and to whom they are going. They are ready for the same detailed and serious answer.
What to answer?
I don’t want the list below to become an unconditional guide, but I’ll break it down point by point what I most often indicate in letters. Perhaps some of the designers will find it useful, or you will understand the logic by which I build communication.
- I read the letter and already intuitively assign the client to the first or second category. If the letter is written pretentiously, I send it to the basket. I don’t like something or I feel a catch – a basket.
- I analyze the data that we have. Phone, full name, Mail. I am punching information on different bases. I look at all the data, profiles on social networks, businesses owned by the author of the letter. I always do this: if there are doubts, if a person is interesting, if I want to know if it’s a fake or not, etc.
- When I understand that the account is fake, I can pin up the interlocutor. And I can and fuck up (the difference is huge) Often designers, instead of writing directly, are represented by companies. Well, my word of honor – as if they were given an assignment in the courses “300 pickups.” But there is also a more efficient method – the basket.
- In response, I try to address by name. Although I do not recognize psycho-traps from the series “mention the name more often and the person will like it.” Rave. A man will enjoy being constructive, not sucking up his ass. Therefore, I do not mention the name more than once and in the future I try not to overdo it with personal appeals.
- I never (!) Write “you” with a capital letter. Because these are not BDSM games, but ordinary business correspondence. The client is not the master, I am not Anestasia (although the name is similar)
- I always write a letter individually. And I get very annoyed if I see hackneyed ctrl + c from HRs or would-be managers. In the case of them, there is only one way out: the basket.
- I always thank people for their rating. Not only as a sign of respect, but because it’s really nice when you were singled out from a large number of specialists. It doesn’t matter how the conversation develops further. The first step has been taken and it is necessary to say “Thank you” for it.
- I’m not talking about the price directly, but I can give a fork. And after that I always explain what the sum consists of and why it is impossible to evaluate another using the example of one project, even if the number of blocks or pages is the same.
- I can describe the approach to work or give examples of how the presence of certain actions / functions affect the rise / fall of the price. What bonuses and penalties do I offer if I go beyond the deadline and why this might happen.
- I definitely say that I can meet if necessary, unless, of course, the interlocutor lives on the other side of the world.
- If the client hasn’t gone deep into the niche, I ask him. Yes, I answer the questions with questions. In the first letter. Because I need to know what the purpose of the company is, why they need a landing page, what exactly they want and the main thing is whether I can help them
- Please show all working materials at this point in time and attempts to cooperate with other contractors. This is important because this is how I see what the client has already encountered and what his taste is. I understand his pains and fears.
- I clarify the urgency of the task, since it is often loaded for a month or a month and a half in advance, and even if the project is cool, it is not a fact that I can take it.
From the following answers, sometimes I understand that the template of the client and my style are incompatible.
There are niches where medium designs or minimalist neat variations will work better than flashy creative promos. And that’s okay. In this case, I accurately inform the client that another specialist will suit him and most likely his project can be completed for a lesser amount without loss of quality. And always in such cases, a person remains grateful.
The final estimate may not suit the client
In this case, he will simply thank you and will not beat out his conditions. The client will simply leave. With thanks. Perhaps he will give your contact to friends and colleagues – and if there is an opportunity to place an order within your budget next time – he will return.
When the correspondence passes the previous points, in 4 out of 5 cases it ends with cooperation
And you … take the helm of the ship. The adventure begins
In subsequent communication with the client, I try to keep the conversation in his language. Does he want to switch to “you”? No problem! I do not look at it strictly. It is important that people feel comfortable. Your communication directly affects how successfully you close the project and how you get over conflict situations if they arise.
Still, it is important to keep the working relationship in balance and not allow the transition to close friendships. After the project was closed, yes. During work, no. You are buddies, you are colleagues.
Screwed up while working? Admit it. Everybody does it. Large companies are no exception. What to say about freelancing.
Write as is why you were unable to get the job done. Offer a bonus
If you receive an angry letter, you cannot respond to it aggressively, even if something in it touched you as a person, not a specialist. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the journey and even after, I did not always understand this due to my character. Your gentleness can smooth out the corners, the main thing is not to overdo it and in any situation, compose a letter carefully and as sincerely as possible.
Nuance: do not give the client more than 2 communication channels and do not let them disturb you on all fronts when necessary and not necessary. This is very ugly. Many do not understand that this distracts from work and makes the designer nervous. Speak it out on the shore
Make the client feel like a captain for a while
But don’t let yourself take the initiative!
Ask, consult on those moments in which you have doubts. A specialist should have solutions, but he is not a Wikipedia or a child prodigy! The client often knows about his product those details that you do not know, which may have been overlooked in the briefing. When solving problems jointly, the result will be higher.
Try not to show drafts. Of course, you can take a screenshot of the developments to make it clear “we are doing well. we are sailing along the assigned route. ” No more.
To agree on the layout, do not be too lazy to present it. It is not necessary to lick the case inside and out by filing a bihans-level presentation. Not!
Just make simple animations in those moments that the client can understand ambiguously. If you don’t know how, pick up references from ready-made sites. Record a video analysis, justify your decisions, backing them up with numbers and statistics. Show what options were in some blocks / pages and why you stopped at a specific solution.
For example, you can put together a focus group from designers and ordinary people. I often give this advice to beginners. Designers can write down constructive criticism on the visual component, and ordinary people will always tell you whether the path that you have paved is convenient or it is easier to take a shortcut through that path through the bushes.
Cover photo and article: ShutterStock