“We do not begin to solve our clients’ problems before we are engaged.”
— Blair Enns
Blair Enns’ Win Without Pitching Manifesto holds a lot of solid advice for designers dealing with clients. Like this:
“Only we present our work.
“Whenever our diagnostic findings, strategic recommendations, or creative solutions are presented to anyone in our client companies, it will be personnel from our firm that does so.”
I’ve worked on projects where my ideas were delivered to boards of directors through middle-people — a brand manager or marketing manager, for example. In those cases I wasn’t present to guide decision-makers or to answer questions, greatly increasing the back-and-forth where directors would relay thoughts through someone else like a game of Chinese whispers. Hardly ideal.
One general premise of Blair’s book is that if a design studio is asked to pitch for a client’s business, the studio should be paid to write the proposal.
“Doctors charge for MRIs. Accountants charge for audits. Lawyers charge for discovery. And we charge for our diagnostic work as well, whether it is a brand audit or discovery session that we conduct ourselves, or outside research that we commission.”