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Being a Female, What is your Clothing Style?

Post Category: General Graphic Design

One of the things that entrepreneurs learn in their ventures is that they must learn how to deal with objections. I can say from experience that it is very easy to get discouraged when the product or service we hope to impress upon others does quite the opposite of our intentions.

As a freelance artist, I tend to wonder if it is easier to take objections personally, because, at that point it isn’t so much about persevering in our efforts as it is taking a loss or starting from scratch. Still, objections are something that a contracted artist must overcome. It doesn’t matter how skilled or creative we are; we are bound to have our few clients whose creative tastes and expectations differ from our own.

Though I try hard to avoid this issue by interviewing and getting to know my clients before the start of a project, there have been very few times where creative expectations and outcomes just don’t line up. And in this, I have observed a very narrow range of how clients present objections, or flat rejection. Here is a short list of popular scenarios I collected from colleagues and my own experiences:

1 - MIA (missing-in-action) – The client receives the mockup(s) and is never heard from again, forfeiting the down-payment and right to a change-of-direction when presented in a contract

2 – client doesn’t respond for at least a couple weeks, apologizes for being “so busy”, and proceeds with a very diplomatic list of objections

3 – client responds with a friendly request to pay the “kill” fee with no explanation and no request for a change-of-direction

4 – client presents positives before negatives, hoping to ease the blow

Scenario #4 is obviously the most desirable way listed to receive a client’s objection. It presents both what a client likes and dislikes and helps us to proceed in a more desirable direction. But regardless of how a client presents objections, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. We artists all experience it and must receive all objections as opportunities for growth.

I’d be interested in knowing what experiences you’ve had with client objections. Please share your stories here.

  1. Janet Carlson On January 29th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I’d like to follow this discussion. I have had this experience myself. I concluded that I didn’t understand the client sufficiently before embarking on the mock ups. For me, I realized the importance of meeting the client face to face. You can pick up signals by observing how they dress, what their office looks like, etc. I took my inspiration clippings and put them in sheet protectors in a 3 ring binder to show them. They can pick out what they like, what they don’t like. That can identify their color preferences, etc. That gives me a reference point of where to start. I have to get into their head and give them what they would like, rather than what I would like to see them have. It is tricky for sure. In the case of my misunderstood client, I was giving them vector graphics, while they preferred raster. A simple misunderstanding like this lost me the client. I was hurt that they didn’t give me the benefit of going forward with me. So now, I direct my clients to my web site portfolio in advance of scheduling a meeting. The reasoning is, if you don’t like my style, then it is best if you find an artist whose approach you do like.

  1. Jon Rawlins On January 29th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Personally, the worst objection I ever had was where a client wanted a single concept (And it had to be right to his specification), then when sent the concept came back with over 50 modifications completely different to the specification and asked for 6 variations of his changes.

    As you do, you give the customer what they wanted and by this time was completely over budget but I felt obliged. Then with the 6 concepts in hand give or take the watermark was never to be heard from again.

    Not sure where I went wrong, but there were a couple of people that were the same. I did later see the template but when confronted the site suddenly because unavailable.

    Thanks for the great post.

  1. Hagen On February 1st, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I was disappointed that title doesn’t align with the blog. I was expecting some tips on how you managed the challenges you listed. For example, the follow up call back for every customer/sale to enquire about satisfaction. During the call back asking if there was any expectation that wasn’t met or a recommendation on how to improve the service next time. I usually aim to have concrete and open questions that are not easily answered by “yes/no”. Many will have forgotten about any issues after a week or so, so a call at about the 7 day mark is good. You also have kept the door open for further follow-ups or add-on opportunities.

    Yes you’ll run into the same 4 response types you’ve noted above, but the ratios will be very different. And you’ll probably find that many of the 1-3 customers are just truly busy. But at least you’ll have more closure and likely more mind share with the customer.


  1. Laurent JOUVIN On February 2nd, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I agree with Hagen. 2 weeks is way to long for an answer. It’s counterproductive and extremely inefficient. We all get rightfully busy and clients will not always reply to an email or call back with feedback. I typically make a followup call a couple of days after sending something. No rush, just casually checkin’ in. That simply reminds the client you’re ready for him whenever he is. Being proactive has been very helpful so far and my clients seem to respond positively to this conduct.

  1. Jodi Salisbury On February 3rd, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Janet: Great idea with meeting the client face-to-face to get a sense of their personal style. I envy you for having that capability. I personally have to rely solely on voice or email rapport for various reasons. As you have discovered, having a web portfolio is a great way to develop a visual understanding with your clients. I use my portfolio as the means to determine if the client likes my style. Then I request that they supply 2 to 3 external web links that reflect something from which they’d like me to get inspiration. This way, they know at the onset that the mockup(s) they receive will reflect a marriage of my style with what it is they actually want. I have lost no clients to this method since I started doing it. Thanks for your post; good luck to you!

    Jon: Wow… what an experience. I once had a client who requested a huge number of modifications. Feeling anxious to close out the project, I continued to make the modifications as the requests came, but eventually our correspondences became fewer and farther between. I sent the client an invoice with a friendly explanation and she responded to say she didn’t feel I was “into” the project anymore and that she shouldn’t have to pay it since the job wasn’t completed. >>sigh<< Well… I guess they’re entitled to their opinions, right? I didn’t fight it. Fortunately, unlike you, I haven’t seen my work in use anywhere.

    Hagen: Thank you for your constructive feedback. I admit that I was in a bit of a hurry the day when I wrote this and really should have given better consideration to my title or my content. Really the only message I intended to get across was that client objections are inevitable and that we, as artists, need to not always take them personally. Then I was interested in sharing some stories with other designers so we could see that we’re not all alone when these issues arise and to offer our experiences in avoid the issues. Thank you for your 7-day suggestion.

    Laurent: I agree with you. Clients who wait too long to get back to us steel our time. When I schedule a project, I do so with the expectation that it will get done within X-amount of time. So what generally happens is that while a client takes his or her time, other projects come up between correspondences, and I suddenly find myself overwhelmingly busy juggling everything on my plate. I recently implemented verbiage in my contracts that included milestones and anticipated time-frames. It seems to keep clients on-track but there are always exceptions. Thanks for your suggestion about contacting the client in a couple days.

  1. Todd Michael On June 24th, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Hi Jody
    I’m a graphic artist turned mosaicist. Im trying to formulate a way to deal only with A list clients. I love researching for new projects and making composites. As of yet I do not charge a consultation fee or design fee. Usually someone who’s on the market for a mosaic mural knows what andhow much to expect and after a composite or two we move forward. There are those times though that clients disappear or want change after change and then decline. My question I guess or suggestions I’m looking for is advice on charging a fee of sorts that at least helps me to know of their seriousness and aleviates me from designing for someone who thinks they might be interested or perhaps even is shopping for a design that they may show to another mosaicist and say i’d like much?
    Thank you in advance if you might steer me into a little direction.
    Artully, Todd Michael

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