You’ve done the 100’s of thumbnail sketches, and landed on the perfect design for your client. As you’re about to press send with the first proof, you say a little prayer that the client likes it, all the while a little fearful voice in the back of your head says “hope they like it!”
I’ve presented hundreds of designs to clients over the years, and have finally landed on a process that has given the boot to that uncertain voice in the back of my head. Yes, confidence in our work is a big part of that, but our process has also been structured in a way to eliminate uncertainty from ourselves or our clients.
I’ve made several changes to our process over the year, and incorporated the one logo solution since day one of my business 4 years ago, but today I wanted to dive into 3 uncommon tweaks we’ve made specifically to our client presentations. Let’s dive in!
Schedule a presentation call
Though it’s easiest to send the design to my clients and step away, I’ve found that scheduling a call to walk them through the presentation enhances the client experience. Through scheduling this brief call, we have the opportunity to present the design to our clients, diving into the rationale behind each design decision and guiding them through the concept as they view it for the first time.
As designers, we understand the deeper meaning behind the design as we’ve labored over it for hours. However, we can’t expect our clients to understand why the type, color and aesthetic we selected will work perfectly attracting their ideal customers. They aren’t as versed in design (which is why they hired you!), so through taking the time to share the story behind the design decisions makes all the difference.
Through scheduling a call, it’s also helped our clients to not react immediately to a concept without understanding context. We’re all strategic designers here — our clients deserve to know that!
I’ve had clients who weren’t able to schedule calls (be it time zones, etc.), so a written rationale works well too! We actually provide both :).
Ditch the PDF
This one is partly selfish on my part — you’ll see why in a sec ;).
We used to send clients a PDF of our brand concept. While this is great, we’ve switched to pitching our presentations through a link on our site. In each and every step of our client process, we’re tweaking over time to make the process as smooth and easy as possible for our clients. We don’t want them to feel like they are burdened with too much homework, confused about what’s next or irritated in any way. Though it’s minor, having a link for our client to click on to view the project is easier than downloading a PDF (that sometimes can be large if image-heavy). As we refine the design throughout the process or add collateral, we simply just update the client page. Easy peasy.
To be honest? It’s also been oh-so-nice to simply drag this client page on over to our portfolio once complete.
*was that your mouth that just dropped wide open?!*
As a designer, for some reason it’s been tough for me to update my portfolio over the years. This has resolved that issue! Once I have photographs or a Pinterest-ready image, I just update that page later. How’s that for a time-saving trick!?
One thing I always mention on these presentation calls is that we don’t require feedback while on the call. A sales person would likely advise just the opposite to pressure an approval, but I don’t think that serves our clients well. Instead, I reassure them multiple times that the purpose of the call is to present the design, and that we aren’t pressuring them for feedback ASAP.
I’ve found that though the presentation call has served us well, it also has made a few clients uneasy when we first incorporated into our process. They felt as though they needed to have feedback ready, when in fact they just saw the design for the first time. Because of this, I squash any hesitancy right away and it’s eased the process significantly! While on the call we’re there to answer any immediate questions, but tell them to sit on it and come back to us within a couple days (but at the same time to not feel like they need to provide feedback if they love it as is!).
We’ve spent years refining our processes to ease things on our end, but more importantly to serve the client well. They’ve invested in your business, so it’s worth investing the time to create a smooth experience for them as well!