Client Wars: Learn Where the Line Is

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

Learn Where the Line Is

Be confident in your decisions. You are the expert. You have the client’s best interests in mind. Remind them of these things. Don’t be a “yessir”—passionately work to create great design, challenging your client to be rise to greatness with you.

But learn where your client’s line is. Every client is different, and will withstand so much or so little pushback to their feelings & opinions. Discerning where this line is takes careful practice and attention to your client. Listen not only to what they say, but how they react & respond as you challenge them.

Push up as close to that line as you’re comfortable, but no farther. It does you no good to alienate the client. Be willing to concede if necessary, especially on minor details. Too often designers damage the client relationship by insisting never yielding on point. Be willing to make a few sacrifices for the sake of the relationship.

Listen not only to what clients say, but how they react.The client relationship is like any other, filled with compromises. Be willing to work with your unique client in a way that will mean success for the both of you. You may have to give up some things, but if managed wisely, this can mean great overall success for both you and your clients.

Winning the War

Working with clients really can be enjoyable. Hopefully these posts have helped give you some tools for working well with clients. Like every relationship, client relationships are never perfect, but by understanding how to deal with conflict, we can actually turn those very disagreements into opportunities for greater success!

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