In the spirit of the topic of today I thought I’d open with a wonderful client testimonial I received last week from Andrew Kanatli the managing director of Kaplan Homes.

“We engaged Fresco Creative earlier this year to help re-brand and refresh our look and feel and take us to the next level. This has by far been one of the best business decisions we have made to date. They have out-performed and out serviced the marketing agencies we have previously used. A very creative and professional team that always delivers high quality work, advice and marketing options on or before time and on budget. They are the complete package and we have now found our marketing home”

The above isn’t an attempt at a public brag (ok maybe just a little), but to illustrate the power of positive client relationships. Andrew is a dream client and our projects with Kaplan Homes have been both creatively inspiring and personally satisfying. Any one of my designers will vouch for the benefits from establishing positive client relationships. When the relationship is strong with a foundation of trust and positive expectation projects flow smoothly. When things do go wrong (which inevitably they do) clients will be much more forgiving and open to the process of working through these roadblocks be it a creative or project management bump in the road.

So what are the steps in initiating and building rapport with clients? How do you decide between persuading clients to your design thinking and when to compromise? For our studio there are 3 golden rules the whole team are on board with in regards to managing clients they are;

1.    Positively Challenge Clients – Nobody wants to deal with a combative and argumentative designer or account manager, that’s a no brainer. The flip side to this is our team need to push for best outcomes and this means not settling for average designs and strategies so as not to rock the boat. Taking a firm stand on creative ideas from a positive, enthusiastic mindset can go a long way in building respect and creating a relationship where both client and designer are collaborating and contributing towards a positive outcome.

2.    Know Your Stuff – The importance of getting to know your client and their business is key in creating creative strategies that are intelligent and relevant. I also make sure I meet my clients personally, visit their offices, meet their team, do my research on their industry. Apart from the insight that this gives me when developing up strategies it also builds a more personable relationship with clients, making projects more streamlined as well as more enjoyable.

3.    Be Responsive but Don’t Badger  – Understanding your client and their needs helps in terms of knowing how much communication they want and need from you. Some of my clients need me to be immediately responsive with a phone call and to follow up on every step of the design process to keep them in the loop and in control of the outcomes. Other clients are so time poor I wouldn’t dream of phoning in for an update and only a short succinct email is needed. In this instance I am only one element on their “to do list” that they are juggling and so its important to step back and relax any demands on time frames and material deadlines

If the above was of any interest to you please like, share or comment.