Blair Enns’ Win Without Pitching Manifesto contains solid advice for designers who deal directly with their clients.
In Blair’s words, “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 — be it a brand or marketing manager, for example. In those cases I wasn’t there to guide the decision-makers or to answer their immediate questions, and that greatly increased the back-and-forth where directors would relay their 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.”