How to present the graphic draft to the client?
Once you have created the layout of the website, you will have to present it to your client. The approval process of the draft has many aspects which are similar to the sales and marketing techniques employed throughout the business world, so it is your job to convince the client to accept your project offer.
By following this method you will be able to avoid making last-minute changes; additions which sometimes hinder the quality of your project and only add more time to it.
How should I present the draft to the client?
It’s best to present the draft directly to your client, so that you can discuss the details of the project without creating any misunderstandings with the client. Furthermore when you meet a client, during the encounter you could put to use a range of techniques, which PNL also teaches that can determine whether a deal is reached successfully.
There are a plethora of books available on the subject of neurolinguistic programming adopted during the sales process. However, this subject is beyond the scope of this guide so we will not go into much detail on this particular topic. In this article, we will cover only the basic concepts, which can become useful in managing your business relations. On top of this, we will provide you with some tips on how to avoid creating a negative relationship with your client.
1. Establishing a good relationship
One of PNL’s main concepts with regards to communication has to do with establishing a relation or rapport with your client. This refers to the process of creating a mental connection with your client spontaneously.
To create this feeling of unity you can use several methods such as the art of reflection and tracing; techniques that are familiar to anyone who has experience with PNL.
Both of these techniques are based on thinly tracing a person, through the person’s breathing, gestures, and verbal expressions. Breathing with the same tempo, gesturing in a similar fashion, and expressing yourself in a way that your client can feel at ease is a good way to establish a solid relationship with your client, one in which your client will share an affinity with you. Said simply, you will share the same skin with your client so that disputes are naturally minimized.
This however does not mean you can monkey around with your client: if you execute these techniques without the adequate theoretical know-how, you run the risk of creating an opposite effect, one in which your client would feel left-out and be skeptical about your own intentions. And, in this case, it would be very hard to instill a sense of trust between you and your client.
To learn more about this aspect, you can go here.
2. Avoid being arrogant
Even if you -as a graphic designer- have ten years of experience working in the field, it is important that you do not show off your competencies in a way that is perceived to be arrogant. Most importantly, avoid using phrases such as, “if I told you so, then that’s the way it’s going to be” or “leave it to me”. It’s best to avoid using these kind of expressions because they might make you appear conceited and unlikeable.
Remember that you are not hired to do as you please and, especially at the beginning of the project, it’s essential to establish a relation of trust between you and your client. Your job is to understand his needs and have them represented in the finished project.
It’s true that the client has come to you, evidently because he or she believes you are fit for the job. In this case, it is important that you don’t flatter yourself too much in front of your client. There’s a huge difference between being confident in one’s own abilities and being presumptuous.
3. Explain the characteristics
One of the most common errors committed by wed designers is to present a draft to a client without providing a detailed technical description of its characteristics. As a matter of fact it is not enough to show to your client that you have created a great set of graphics that is both detailed and pleasing to the eye. Most of the times the client will want to know what he or she is looking at and to understand why certain choices were made.
Why was that particular image used in the header? Colors were selected based on what set of criteria? Is there a relation between a specific graphic effect that was used and the overall message of the website? The client will have to be certain that your work is not based on a random set of choices and that it is the fruit of an accurate set of decisions made in an objective and professional manner.
4. Highlighting the strong points
Once you have detailed to your client the technical aspects behind the project, it is time to bring to his attention the various strong points of the project. Furthermore, you will have to demonstrate that the choices you make will be of benefit in finalizing the project.
In our case we could start by getting the client’s attention focused on the graphics of the website which have been optimized to sow in the display’s native resolution so that a sure will see the graphic layout the way it is intended to be seen regardless of the user’s own resolution settings.
Or we could explain why the banner being held by a child at the bottom-right of the page includes the nursery’s own telephone number. This is so that colors are added and also so that the contact number is visible on the home page, enticing the viewer to dial the number for additional information.
Details are important because they demonstrate the kind of work you have done. And highlighting the strong points can help the client become more and more acquainted with the draft, bringing the client closer to the draft.
5. Be open towards a client’s objections
In our line of work, it is a given to receive criticism and objections regardless of the quality of the work involved. It is important not to take this personally: there will always be someone who will not understand or approve of our aesthetic choices, and someone might even try to modify what you’ve done so far, eventually regretting it.
Even if it’s not always easy, when a client objects you should always maintain a sense of utmost respect for the client’s opinion. It is important never to impose your opinion onto the client and to never take an objection personally. The client might have doubts on certain aspects of the project which does not mean they are dubious of you and your expertise. So, remember to take a deep breath and listen to your client wholeheartedly, without interrupting them.
Don’t appear to be hostile. Rather, try to understand and resolve the problems that your client has pointed out. How should I do this? Well, you should adopt a gentle stance and refer to your client using such phrases as, “I understand your doubts on the matter. Let me try to explain to you why I made the following choice”, or “You are absolutely right in pointing this out. However, due to a series of…“. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will come out looking professional and not too authoritative, so that the client will feel as if his comments are treated with the utmost respect.
6. You feel that you’re doing things the right way? Prove it.
You cannot always convince your client that you have made the right choices by relying solely on your word. As a matter of fact, in this kind of situation there is nothing but your word against that of your client’s. And, if you find yourself face-to-face with someone who doesn’t change his mind easily, it will be very hard to convince them to follow your course of action without providing some data that can be used to support your own position on the matter.
Do you want to convince your client that blue is the best color to use in this project? Then prepare a set of articles, statistics, surveys as well as any other type of data that can support your idea.
Does your client have difficulty distinguishing between a cool graphic layout and one that is amateurish? Look for a website that relates to the activity of your client and let him make a comparison with the graphic draft you have designed.
Does the client insist on having a shinystat counter in the footer of the web page? Then show him that most professional websites (such as the ones of multinational corporations) do not have a counter, and that there must be a reason for this conscious omission.
Be diplomatic. Even if the client’s tastes are somewhat peculiar, it is definitely not helpful if you point this out too forcibly.
7. What if I am working from home?
It’s important to include -as an attachment to the draft- a sheet that describes in detail the graphic choices you have made. Once you have compiled this, you should send it to your client through e-mail or any other pre-arranged form of exchange. Le the client know that you will get in touch with him when he looks at the document so that you can explain and clarify any doubts that emerge. Keep in mind that even when you are talking on the phone with your client, it is important to respond to your client’s objections in a professional, discrete manner, one that is open to such criticisms.
we have been very convincing, so much so that our client has accepted our draft without any hesitation. What’s the next step? It will be to create the internal pages of our website. We will do this next Monday! For now, take a look at the progress bar, which has reached 61% as we have completed this last phase.
The other articles in this guide:
- How to understand the client’s needs on the first encounter?
- How to calculate costs and delivery time of a web project?
- How to develop and organize the structure of a website?
- How to find inspiration and design the layout of a website?
- How to present the graphic draft to the client?
- How to make the internal pages after the draft’s approval?
- How to export a psd into xhtml and css without losing your soul? (part1) (part 2)
- How to index a website without being SEO experts? (part 1) (part 2)
- How to make sure of not having committed errors before launching the website online?
In tutti questi anni abbiamo ricevuto centinaia di richieste di approfondimento sulle numerose tematiche del web design vissuto da freelance. Le abbiamo affrontate volta per volta. Ma ci siamo resi conto che era necessario fare qualcosa di più. Ecco perché è nato One Year Together, un vero e proprio master per web designer freelance che apre finalmente le porte al mondo del lavoro.
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