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Analogic 01: New Clients & Dating

Disclaimer: This post, on account of its title may read as a how-to-date-a-client. Apologies for the disappointment some of you may experience in the next half of this sentence, for it is NOT. It is however, the first of many in a series of short posts (one hopes) on on ways of looking at design practice, with real world/life metaphors. Because let’s face it, design is really a life choice of sorts.

The enticement and ‘beware-ment’ of new clients is much like dating. Always the promise, tinged with wee apprehension. A formula never quite works, because despite the obvious factual similarities in profile information, nobody/no brand/no project is ever really the same.

The first date/meeting. It helps to start without an agenda—with exchanging the basics, and build on that conversation with both an open ear and mind. Pacing the conversation is critical—taking it slow with the commitments and promises. Instead, focussing on common ground first, helps creates a conversation that is unique to you and the client/person. Because no one sticks around for generic— it’s like saying you like music, or ‘do’ strategy. What does that even mean exactly…do you like listening to music or singing? Cue to swipe left.

The second date/meeting, if it follows, is indicative that some interest has been piqued on either side. Good news.There is at least a basic foundation of information (and secondary internet research) to take it to the next level. Honest opinions are critical now, because you cannot really spring a ‘actually I never believed in…’ midway a committed engagement. Might as well pull those punches now, and see if all involved stand through it. You’ll probably help everyone involved—in questioning what is on the table, understanding it better and creating a suitable expectation of what lies ahead, should you choose to go down it together.

The third date/meeting. You’ve done the basics, you’ve pulled the punches. It’s time to take the plunge—inwards or outwards. Nothing of course is guaranteed, ever. But you’ve had a good start, and with gut & gumption you will survive.

Modified Featured Image from Boston Public Library / Farnsworth Bros. (Beverage Trade Cards)