There’s some discussion about whether it’s the creative’s responsibility for client education. Should the client do the research necessary to make an informed decision about what she needs? Or should we accept responsibility for informing the client?
Like many things in life where we’re just scratching the surface of a big pot of knowledge, we don’t know what we don’t know. Your client is no different. And if that’s the case, how could they possibly know what questions to ask? And even if they’ve gotten tips from media sources and feel sufficiently informed, are they still asking the right questions and getting the right answers in order to be your perfect client? Unlikely.
When we explain what it is that makes us, our products, and or services compelling, we can’t run down a feature list as if we were a verbal Excel spreadsheet. No, that’s not compelling and certainly not a good story. Your client, especially if it’s a potential one, wants to know what problems you’re going to solve for them, and why you’re the best person for the job. They don’t care about your back end processes. They care about what you do to help them. So every answer you give, and every piece of advice you offer should be framed in such a way that builds a strong, compelling story for your client, phrasing things in a way that they will understand, and avoiding vernacular they do not need to hear. Reasoning should be phrased in a way that it’s clearly beneficial to the client, not that it’s “the industry standard,” which is a mealy-mouthed way of avoiding responsibility.
Above all else, communicate in as simply as possible, narrowing down all the various options to a couple of different major items to consider. Help give them the significant criteria with which to make a decision. Make it easy for them to love you for helping them, and they’ll be a great client. Because now you’ve given them (yet another) reason to trust you. And without trust, you have nothing.