In his What Clients Really Want session at the WordSesh 2018 virtual WordPress developers conference today, Nathan Allotey shared his insights from working with clients and learning what they really want.
He explained that sometimes it can be hard to find out.
Some clients will tell you all the features and functionality they want on a website, but you’ll discover that’s not what they really want.
With other clients, you’ll only find out what they want at the end of the project, and it’s not what you expected.
Here are my notes from his talk.
What Clients Really Want
- Think about the clients you currently have. Are they the clients you want? Are you acting as a freelancer, completing a task list for clients? Or are you acting as a consultant, providing strategy?
- No matter what type of business you have, you’ll go through the four-step creative process:
- Consultants tend to do planning/strategy and analyze/optimize while freelancers tend to create/develop something, execute/run marketing campaigns, email marketing, paid search.
- Clients want strategy. They want you to understand their mission and vision in order to create a strategy.
- Not every client will have a stated mission or vision. But without a mission or vision, you’ll be working on a moving target.
- Clients know what they want, sometimes. But often they’re a business owner, focusing on running their business.
- It’s up to you as the creative professional to guide the client toward what they need. That’s part of the value you offer, and your pricing should reflect it.
- When presented with symptoms from the client, you’re responsible for getting to the root of the problem. Ask questions, do your research.
- Preparing for your first meeting with a client? Do your research. Not only to prepare you for your meeting, but to better understand your client and their business as well as protect yourself. Is this someone you want to do business with?
- Want to learn about a client’s existing site? Builtwith will tell what technology was used to build the site. GTMetrix will give you insights on performance. Use Google search with site:clientwebsite.com to learn what pages display.
- For your first client meeting, meet in person, when possible. Meeting face-to-face helps to build trust.
- Record the audio of your client meetings. Explain to the client that you want to have an accurate record of what was discussed and what they requested.
- Two questions to ask your clients in your first meeting with them:
- If everything were to go perfectly, how would you define success?
- If everything does not go as planned, what would you consider a failure?
Listen to what the client says, what they feel is important and what they want to avoid.
- You are not working for your client, you’re working for your client’s customers. What do your client’s customers want to do on the website?
- People pay for what they deem important. Show your client you care about them.
As a creative professional, you’re responsible for identifying what your client wants.
By investing the time to do research, ask questions, and listen to what your client says, you’ll be able to provide meaningful solutions as well as build long-term relationships with your clients.