Client Wars: Stop Taking It Personally

Jumping into this series in the middle? Check out The Client Is Not The Enemy and Shut Up and Listen. Or view the series index here!

Stop Taking it Personally

This takes practice. After all, we work hard on our designs: we think hard about the problem and pour ourselves into a creative solution that we think is unique, beautiful, and effective. We present this solution to the client because we believe it’s the best solution. Honestly, if we didn’t think it was good design, would we create it?!? Come on!

When clients disagree with our solution, we think they’re disagreeing with our judgment. When clients don’t like our solutions, it can feel like they don’t like us!

I love musicals like “Les Miserables” and “The Producers.” My friend hates musicals and thinks they’re dumb and annoying. Since I like musicals, I must be a fool to like something which is clearly dumb and annoying, right? Wrong.

Learn to repeat this as a mantra: “It’s not personal!” A client’s dislike for a particular solution can have many possible origins, and the least likely is that they don’t like you! After all, they hired you, didn’t they? Maybe they don’t like yellow, maybe they have an irrational aversion to serif fonts, maybe they saw a website they thought was really cool and think their website should look just like it.

A client’s dislike can have many possible origins, and the least likely is that they don’t like you. It is possible that on occasion a client may think you don’t know what you’re doing. They may think they know better. This is where you have to work doubly hard to establish yourself as an expert. In my next post I’ll show why educating your clients is key to design victory.

Coming Up Tomorrow

Coming up tomorrow, why half your job is educating. Make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing to my RSS feed, or get updates directly in your inbox!

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