Client Wars: Admit Defeat

Jumping into this series in the middle? Check out The Client Is Not The Enemy, Shut Up and ListenStop Taking it PersonallyHalf Your Job is Educating, and Forget What You Like. Or view the series index here!

Admit Defeat

Sometimes the client is actually right.

Recently I finished a website for a client that featured some really brightly colored type. Because I didn’t want to lessen the impact of the type, I chose to use black and white photos alongside the text. I also thought the black and white would help sell the “vintage” look that the client had asked for.

On seeing the comps, the client asked to see the photos in color. I explained why I chose to make the photos black and white, and why I thought this was better for the overall design. Still, after listening to my explanations, the client asked if he could still please see the comp with color photos. Reluctantly, I agreed.

As I set to work assembling a new comp with color photos, I realized that in fact the color photos were far better! Not only did it not detracted from the large, colorful type, it actually made it look better! It brought the whole page alive in a way that it wasn’t before.

I sent the client the new comps, showing him the black and white and color options side by side. I wrote a note telling him that after seeing the color, I agreed with him that the color was better, and if he agreed then we should move forward with that option!

Admitting when we’re wrong takes great humility. Admitting when we’re wrong takes great humility. To admit—to concede, to lose!—feels like showing weakness. “Oh no,” we think! “Now the client will think he knows best for everything!”

In truth, admitting when the client is right the best thing you can do for your client relationship. It tells the client that you are interested in finding the best creative solutions, even if they don’t come from you. This builds a huge amount of trust in your client, since they see you care about what’s best for their business. They will be more likely to agree with you in the future because of their increased trust in your motives.

Coming Up Tomorrow

Coming up tomorrow, learn to push up to the line without crossing it. Make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing to my RSS feed, or get updates directly in your inbox!

One Comment

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Wu, David Cole. David Cole said: New post: Sometimes we're wrong. Learn to use that as an opportunity to strengthen client trust. http://is.gd/iigGm #clientwars #design [...]