Three things you should NEVER say to your clients.

After spending the past year freelancing for various large clients such as airlines, travel companies and shipping companies, I decided it would be useful to gather some data on what damages trust between your client and you. Since clients are giving you mostly blind trust initially, it’s very important to prove yourself so blind trust becomes real trust. Here’s 5 things you should NEVER say to your client if you want to keep that trust real!

“Okay fine, I’ll drop my rates”

Negotiations are normal between a client and a freelancer, but it’s an incredibly delicate process. Think strongly about what your rates are before you delve into the world of freelancing. If you agree to drop your rates just because the client tries to negotiate you down, you are also dropping your self worth which will most likely give the client second thoughts as to why you tried to over-charge if you could so easily drop your rates. It may also have a knock-on effect to other clients who have received recommendations from the client who managed to negotiate you down to easily.

A good work-around is to allow negotiations, but put your own spin on it. For example, I recently came across a negotiating client who wanted me to drop my day rate by £50. In order to preserve my self-worth whilst still meeting the client half way, I suggested that if the project runs past my estimated finish date, then we can drop the day rate at that point. Client was not only happy with this work around, but I also maintained my self-worth and ultimately the clients trust.

“Okay, I’ll do it this way if you want it done this way”

Quite often, freelancers feel obliged to agree with everything the client says. If you do this, the client will begin to wonder why you’re agreeing with them rather than coming up with your own solutions. Any good product designer will have the ability to come up with strong product design solutions and if your client wants it done a different way, you should be prepared to stick up for your solution and provide an explanation as to why you chose that solution.

Occasionally, the client will stick to their guns and wont let up on the decision, at which point you should make the client aware of the problems that may arise should they persist with their solution. You should also consider making a note of this for later proof if things did happen to go wrong.

“I don’t know why I did it this way”

Oh boy.

If you are making design decisions with no reasoning whatsoever other than “it looks good”, then you’re most likely missing out on a huge opportunity to design a product that performs well with users. There shouldn’t be a single decision made which doesn’t have solid reasoning behind it. This is what sets apart product designers from average designers.

Clients will often ask why you chose a certain way to design something and you’d better have a very good reason why otherwise the client is going to think that you’re blagging your way through the project and not putting in any real thought behind it.

Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire