Can you ask your client?

Intro from Ilise: We spend a lot of time talking about what clients like, but the best source of this information is the client themselves. Today, Di Lohr from Adunate (who is a member of my Advanced Marketing Group) shares an experience where she learned what her client likes in a proposal—and more—directly from the client… Her client also markets services through proposals, so she had even more insight to share. Either way, the client perspective can teach us so much about how we present ourselves, and how we can approach them in a way that will get us the job. Here is what Di had to share:

After discussing her project, I then asked my client about her thoughts on the working agreement I had sent her. I wanted to know how it would fit into her industry, since with my previous clients I had never submitted proposals.

She was very forthcoming, which I appreciated, and said her first inclination was to feel put off. My list of "rules and regulations" (on the second page of my working agreement) made her feel like "whoa…this is cut and dry, and no room for discussion."

We then discussed her method of proposal writing, and when she includes those final working terms (she facilitates historical preservation by collaborating with architects, engineers and contractors).

  1. She writes a proposal that includes what she will do for them, the phases of the project, time for each phase and cost involved. She also includes her very basic assumptions, like she will get paid a very ballpark XXX to do this project.
  2. She and the client meet to go over the proposal and discuss necessary changes and a more refined price quote. She said in her line of work there are always many changes, discussions of contractors, time frames, etc.)
  3. When all proposal terms are agreed upon, she rewrites the proposal and then includes her working terms of agreement. She goes after their signature with this final proposal.

To all of you, I ask: Is this a similar process for designers?

I feel the conversation with this client was very helpful. She is talkative and willing to take the time, to which I expressed my great appreciation. I also asked her if I could periodically consult with her as I approach more projects in this industry. She thought that was a super idea.

Do you have a client you can ask for their honest feedback? Go for it.

Diahann Lohr, from Adunate Word & Design, unites words and design for all your communication needs.