Client Partnerships: What Makes a Good Fit?
Published by Spinutech on May 7, 2014
As with any business, there are many ways to grow and manage it. We've been in business for 20 years now and we continue to learn every day. Something we've refined over the years is what type of clients are a good fit for us. Not only upfront but for the long-haul. While saying "no" to work was really hard to do in our early years, it has really worked out well for us and our clients.
So what is the formula for a successful partnership with us? Here are a few key points that we feel play an important role in a long-term partnership.
- A mutual respect for one another. We need to respect and appreciate the fact that the client chose us over other worthy service providers and it is our responsibility to prove their decision was a wise one. Likewise, they chose us over the others because they believe we have something to offer that others don't. More importantly, we have knowledge and ability that they, themselves, don't. If they expect a return on their investment, they must respect and believe in what we do and allow us to do it.
- Listen; provide input; and know when to do what. As much as it is the client's responsibility to trust in us to do what they cannot, it is equally if not more important for us to listen to them, understand their goals and needs, and provide input where it is acceptable.
- Open communication is essential. As is the case with almost any relationship, a breakdown can nearly always be attributed to a lack of communication. Both parties need to be clear and concise with their needs and continually followup throughout the process to ensure expectations are fully understood and being met.
- Have a point person. All too often when projects begin to unravel or become inefficient it's because of the "too many cooks in the kitchen" syndrome. Just as the client should expect to have one or two people they know they can call on to address any question/concern, so should the designer/developer. If all project information is running through a single person, there's little chance of confusion and inefficiency.
- We're all human. Both service provider and client all too often have unrealistic and unfair expectations for each other. Just because a client has hired us to provide a specific service doesn't mean that they fully understand why they are hiring us, what they should be able to provide us, or that they will even have all of the answers about their own company. At the same time, a client cannot expect us to be mind-readers or fortune tellers, have all of the answers, or make promises about things for which we have no control. Both sides must realize that there will likely be challenges, frustrations, and potentially some back-stepping and redirection before the final goals can be realized. Rarely in this industry is the process a straight line from beginning to end.
- A sense of humor. Probably one of the most important characteristics of all is to have a sense of humor. We are working together on complex solutions that can be stressful. We've found that keeping a good attitude and a smile on your face helps the project and our partnership out.
The above is by no means a full list. Our goal is to enjoy the work we do and who we work with. Finding clients that feel the same way is very important to us and everyone's long-term happiness. If you think you would be a good fit for us then give us a shout. We'd love to talk about how we can become partners.