[thelist] Client Education

Bill Haenel mail at webmarketingworx.com
Thu Oct 23 10:34:06 CDT 2003

> My clients never seem to know what they want before they see a 
> prototype.
> Do any of you have 
> any techniques that you use for this purpose?

Make a good plan based on a solid foundation of useful information, then
stick to it.

Step 1. Spend some time really getting to know them and their
organization in your initial consultation. Ask them as many questions as
possible about their intentions, their reasons for doing the project,
their history, their products or services, etc. Have a look at their
existing marketing materials, their favorite websites, their office,
their plants, heck - even the cars they drive...really anything you can
do to absorb as much information as possible about who they are and what
their tastes are.

Step 2. Bill them whatever your regular full-boat hourly rate is for
that consultation time - separately from the project cost. This part is
important, because they are more likely to take that consultation time
seriously if they are paying for it as a unique service. Plus, you will
feel like you haven't wasted your time, and by asking for money from the
get-go you are likely to connect with clients who are serious and
focused. Quote the project as you normally would, with time accounted
for the storyboarding and wireframes, mock-ups and whatever you usually
do for design sampling.

Step 3. Get really comfortable speaking the words, "but you said...". If
you use that phrase respectfully when the client goes off on a tangent
away from the plan, it lets them know you were paying attention, and it
reminds them of what they initially stated their intentions to be (which
many people forget once they begin a project). Be flexible, but always
suggest a route close to what your client originally told you was

Good luck!


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