We often discuss the worst aspects of people. And it makes sense. Freelance designers are likely to deal with the occasional client from hell. Oddly, these stories tend to bring us together. We can swap tales of disaster and laugh.
I’m thankful that most of my client experiences have been positive. And many relationships have withstood the test of time. Some have lasted for 20+ years.
And just as bad clients display certain traits – so do good ones. They provide clues as to what it’s like to work with them. Maybe we can refer to them as “green” flags – as opposed to red.
With that in mind, let’s look at traits that make for a great web design client.
1. They’re Willing To Listen to Your Ideas
When someone hires you to build their website, it’s nice to know that they trust your expertise. After all, a web designer does more than take directions.
Providing advice is part of the job. It can help clients get the most out of a project. We know what works and what doesn’t. And our experience with different tools and techniques is beneficial.
The best clients tend to seek your professional opinion. And they seriously consider what you have to say. It doesn’t mean that they’ll always do things your way. But they value your opinion.
2. They Have Realistic Goals for Their Website
Projects that lack a clear goal are difficult. But clients aren’t always sure of their specific needs. Thus, designers are forced to work with the few puzzle pieces that are provided. And they must also fill in any remaining gaps.
On the other hand, a client who has specific, tangible goals for their website brings clarity. Knowing someone’s needs and expectations allows you to create a plan. Here’s to no more guessing games!
It’s also worth noting that you have an opportunity to help guide clients in the right direction. Therefore, don’t be too discouraged by a slow start. There’s still time to develop those goals.
3. They’re Willing to Spend for Quality
Even the biggest projects have budgetary restrictions. It’s something we all deal with. But there are circumstances when a project’s expectations have simply outgrown its budget.
Sure, there are plenty of free resources available. WordPress themes and plugins come to mind. But they aren’t always the best tool for the job. Without an investment in quality, the outcome will suffer.
You’ll gain an appreciation for clients who understand this reality. Sometimes money must be spent to do things right, particularly when it comes to eCommerce. A little money invested upfront can save extra costs (and headaches) down the road.
This also goes together with clients who are good listeners. Part of our advisory role is to recommend tools and services that produce the best outcomes. The hope is that they’ll take our advice and make the best decision possible.
4. They Value You and Your Time
Some clients don’t make you feel like a valued member of their team. They’ll dismiss your ideas and toss aside concerns. You may even be left out when big decisions are made.
On the other hand, it’s a wonderful feeling when someone treats you like family. They understand that you’re busy. They don’t waste your time. And when something happens in your life (good or bad), they offer words of encouragement.
For example, I witnessed the birth of my daughter and the passing of my mother. In both instances, several clients took time to send congratulations or condolences. It makes for a stronger relationship – one where everyone feels like they matter.
It also helps when clients make a good-faith effort to pay invoices. Doing so is a sign that they value and respect you.
5. They Tell Their Friends About You
Client referrals are a great compliment. It says that someone enjoyed working with you and is happy with the results. What’s more, you get the sense that they want you to succeed.
Referrals must be earned, though. Hard work, honesty, and a job well done are key ingredients.
But it takes a special person to recognize your efforts and recommend your services. Even if a referral doesn’t work out, their thoughtfulness still counts.
A Great Client is a Gift
We all have an idea of a “dream” client. Maybe it’s someone that pays well and asks for little in return. Or it could be someone who provides you with creative freedom. Maybe they drive a Ferrari and let you get behind the wheel.
Fantasies aside, it’s important to recognize those who value what we do. The greatest clients are the ones who keep our businesses running. Without their trust, we wouldn’t be here.
So, let’s raise a glass to our best clients. Give them thanks for being part of the journey!