Sometimes You Gotta Ask For Directions
Yes, sometimes you have to stop and ask for directions.
You Gotta Ask
No, wait, I take that back.
They always ask questions.
If they don’t, the client should hear alarm bells, and head for the door.
Not even the most informed client can think of everything in advance. He’s looking
for a collaborator– a specialist– an expert.
And the expert (designer, illustrator, contractor) can’t act without first assessing the client’s problem.
- determines credibility (both sides): no questions/sketchy answers => trouble ahead
- inspires confidence: designer is seeking a clear understanding of client’s problem
- determines whether it’s a good job match => if designer is right person for the job
- clarifies the scope of the project, and narrows the focus
- determines if the client has a budget for the project (or given it any thought)
- allows the designer to demonstrate his expertise (or lack of it)
- gives the designer the opportunity to clarify the value he or she can provide
- sets a certain tone– hopefully, a spirit of collaboration and mutual commitment
- it’s a chance for the designer and the client to learn each other’s language
- in reflecting on the exchange, one or both parties may think of other questions
- helps clarify options designer can offer (we can do A or B or C), so client has a choice
Oh– there’s one more reason why it’s smart to ask for directions:
Because it’s embarrassing to be seen wandering around, looking for your drawers… : )
If you’re a freelancer, do you have a standard list of questions you ask a new client?
If you hire freelancers, have you ever backed off because someone did not ask questions?
Ever seen anyone walking around with a tag on his toe??
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