Colorful Clientele – Client Types and How to Handle Them

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Either you are working as a freelancer or running a design agency, you will have to deal with a colorful variation of clientele. It highly depends on your luck and your dealing that which one (or more than one) of these types fall in your business’s lap. To run a successful design business, you need to understand all the different types of clients so that you can plan a strategy to deal with them accordingly.

The truth is that not all clients are bad but some clients are no less than a nightmare. As a graphic designing businessman, you will be talking; dealing and also meeting with so many people of different personalities and understanding them will help you save your time and efforts so that you can utilize them during your work. Some clients just want designs for brochures, while others want a full spectrum of branding from a website to product packaging. You need to customize your service level to meet the needs of each type of client.

Well, there might be “a kind” of people that you would like to avoid in your daily life. Similarly there is “a kind” of a client that you are better without. However, as a professional you should be working and dealing with all sorts of client instead of being choosy and particular about your clientele. From good to bad to even worse, you will be dealing with all types of people. And so, it is important to understand the different types of clients and how to deal with them. Following are a few breeds of clients that you should know and learn how to deal with them:

Low-Tech Clients

You need to understand that there are people even today who are not tech savvy. They will definitely have an idea of what they want but they would not know how to go about it. If you will talk to them in your typical design language and use the design jargon they will give you a blank, expression less face. They would avoid emailing you and will prefer calls and the best way to recognize a low-tech client is to observe what he wants. For instance, if a client wants everything to be faxed to him, he is perfectly suitable for this category.

The advantage of having a client with no knowledge is that he will rely on you and your advices completely. Since, they won’t have a clue of what’s going on, they will love your ideas and your work. On the other hand, the disadvantage of having a low tech client is that you will have to guide him through every step and every second (apart from providing services). Handling such clients can be time consuming and difficult. It is better to provide such clients with information in writing. Do not make efforts to write emails, they won’t probably even check them. Try to make the project as user friendly as you can. Your client should be able to use it properly so that he has a satisfaction that a common man will be able to use it as well.

Least Bothered Clients

Such clients can be really annoying at times or can be very pleasing as well. Most of the clients really like to get involved, ask questions and make sure they are well informed on updates about their project. This particular breed of clientele will be least interested in discussing things with you or won’t even answer your questions. Spotting such clients is never a hard thing. If they are constantly telling you to take care of things and if they are telling you they do not have time, count them in the list of least bothered clients.

The advantage of having a client like this is that you have enough room to bring out your creativity and prove yourself. In most cases, a graphic design businessman has to work according to the client. With a disinterested client, you can take care of almost everything. The disadvantage is that you will be taking care of everything, even those tasks which are not part of your job.

Dealing with such clients is not really hard. Keep a friendly tone, get ready for a lot of phone calls and emails and be open and honest to them about the fact that if they want all the work done, they will have to pay you extra as well. Remind them that there are no free lunches in this world.

Unreasonable Clients

Dealing with unreasonable and paranoid clients can be very stressful. They will talk and discuss the project less and will bring out legal papers or signed approvals more. The good thing about having a client who is paranoid is that everything will be legal so there is a sense of security related to the project as well. Such clients are the ones who have the most problems. So, make sure that you read the terms and conditions of their project before signing any legal document. Do not work for such clients if it is a small project. Just say no to the client on a very humble note. If you do take the project of such a client, make sure you are getting a fair deal.

Nice Client

A nice client is always a pleasure for every graphic design business person. Honestly, a nice client is a rare treasure and we do not get a lot of good clients these days. I personally love having a client who is showering me with compliments and is being suitably nice to me. The advantage of working with such clients is that they make your work life comfortable, easy and they make you feel good about yourself. The disadvantage is that a nice client will spoil you in a way that you will dislike all your other clients and would expect a nice behavior from them as well. Trust me; you won’t be getting that wish fulfilled. If they are really nice to you, the best you can do for them is to work really hard and come up with something exceptional.

Negotiating Client

Spotting a client who is always looking for a good deal is not that hard. He will always think that price you quoted initially is not a final price and he can always get a good deal of negotiation and discount out of it. You will have to be very careful with such clients as their negotiating skills are amazing. The advantage of having a client like this is that if you offer them with good deals, they will fulfill their promise of brining more work to you. If you are not good at negotiating, they might take an advantage of you and you are left with very little profit. If you want to make a good deal with them, start off with a higher price so that you can settle the amount which is good for the client and you both.

Hasty Client

Such clients can be very annoying. You obviously want to know why? Well, all of their emails, creative briefs and courier boxes are labeled as ‘urgent’ or they will tell you to finish work ASAP. They are a kind of workaholics as they work all day long even on weekends and expect the design service providers to do the same. They will think that you have to give their project the utmost priority as if you do not have anything better to do. An advantage of a client like this is that you can charge them because of the urgency and since a project will be finishing soon, you will get good cash without any issue. However, such clients can be very stressful. You will have to bear with late night urgent calls too.

Handling clients like these needs a little bit of mind game. Do not get aggressive on their pushy behavior. Instead, you can always tackle a situation in a light humor. However, do communicate to them when you think they are ridiculously being unreasonable and you too have a life of your own.

Conclusion

Being able to identify clients is something great for a graphic design business owner. The reason is that it gives a lot of experience and prepares a person for future. Professional life is not easy and one has to face a lot. You will be able to deal with every client with a proper strategy if you observe behaviors. Once you know it, you will handle your clients in a great way and become a successful business person.

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About the Author

Arfa Mirza is a EuroPakistani and a graduate of Media Studies. Writing is both, her passion and profession. She is big fan of world cultures and is the proud co-founder of dzineblog360 and webblog360, alongwith her husband.

Comments and Discussions

  1. Tweets that mention Colorful Clientele – Client Types and How to Handle Them | Dzinepress -- Topsy.com, 12 November 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samuel Mateo, Jr., Daud, Daud, Pablo Lara H, KashifMughal and others. KashifMughal said: Colorful Clientele – Client Types and How to Handle Them: Either you are working as a freelancer or running a d… http://bit.ly/aJc4Eu […]

  2. Brett Widmann, 25 February 2011

    This was a fun article to read! I love hearing others experiences and learning from them!

  3. Graphic Design Forum, 11 April 2011

    Brilliant post. So true. When I think of all the times I’ve got into trouble by treating one type of client the same as another type.

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