Perhaps you’re interested in reading “You’re My Favorite Client” by Mike Monteiro, and you’re looking for a sneak peak from an impartial outsider. I’ve found the book to be like taking a bit of a nibble of of Monteiro’s adrenal gland, which is as much as one could hope for if you’ve ever heard the man speak. One of my favorite video’s about design and client relationships is Mike’s ‘Fuck You, Pay Me’ speech.
I read a review on Amazon about the book, and the gentleman stated very eloquently that Mike should be more ‘appropriate’ if he wants the book to be handed to clients. To that I say; “have you seen any or read any of Mike’s stuff before?” The man is in the class of creatives who say it like it is; who are like mule’s in that they don’t pull-punches for your feelings but instead go the RIGHT direction whether it tickles your fancy or not. Alot of CMO’s and marketing director’s crave this sort of directness, and clearly there are a genre of designers who cater to the tastes of those who prefer a certain unconstrained and unceremonious approach.
A parable to illustrate the dilemma we face as designers
I find this approach to be important, but in practice I know that it can be difficult. Client’s occasionally lose trust in the process, whether it be the designer’s fault or not. Perhaps they got sold something that they didn’t exactly know what the deliverables or the goals were, and that’s something we have to do better as creative teams to delineate and make clear.
Let’s say I have a client relationship that for whatever reason has been difficult. I walk into my superior’s office at my agency, and tell him my struggles. In understanding language he responds back with what he feels he just heard. We’re both looking for a positive solution, and so he offers up this response: “I always think about these challenging situations in terms of what we can learn,” and asks me if there was anything I hope to learn from the situation.
When trust was lost in a design process this is what I sought to learn:
- I sought to learn how to set my ego to the side and not wrap it up in the final design outcome.
- I sought to learn how to work with internal design teams as an outside agency so that I can be a versatile designer.
- I sought to learn how to deal with inevitable frictions with a client and not let it eat my lunch outside of work.
My biggest take-away was always looking at challenges from the perspective of ‘What can I learn from this.’
Part of this includes having these kinds of heart to heart conversations with other professionals in the industry and being candid about challenges you’re facing. If you can humble yourself to do this, it becomes easier to process some of the difficulties.
Some huge take-aways from “You’re My Favorite Client” for web design and marketers in general
- Research and vet your design team to really make sure they’re the right fit, and have the right type of mindset before working with them.
- Trust your design team when it comes down to the wire.
- Don’t make it about your own design tastes, make it about clear incremental and attainable goals.
- Keep the team and goals working with the design team consistent, or expect the deadlines to move back inevitably.
- Expect clear answers from the design team, and expect well thought-out answers for the design based on your goals.
- “Your personal tastes on not a success metric. We’re going to evaluate based on whether it increases revenue, customer retention, or any other metrics we set up at the start.”
- Don’t assume your designer knows all the tricks of the industry. Designers own the web strategy, and UI but need your expertise on the specific industry.
If you’re the client, hire a designer or design team with a track-record of success and trust them
You didn’t hire them to carry out your exact construction in your imagination, or if you did you’re not looking for a designer, but a minion. Get an intern with photoshop experience, because in the end that’s what you’re going to turn a professional designer into before you get done with the project if you’re telling them how to execute every detail.
If you’re a designer make sure to set clear goals and expectations and create the web design based around those goals asking for feedback based on the client’s industry experience.
Not their design experience. Not their tastes. Not their wife or husband’s taste. Be clear about what you’re trying to get to at the end of each meeting or phase, and don’t expect them to come up with creative and innovative design solutions for you.
This is your job. Be stubborn in finding the best solution.
Would I give this book to a client? Probably not. Did I find it encouraging to be the best designer possible for my clients? Yes. It’s a kick in the ass to keep the client’s best interest at heart without caving at the first sign of discomfort. 8.5/10 would recommend to a designer with not a lot of time to read on their hands, but who wants to get better with handling client relationships.
Thank you for reading this book review of “You’re my Favorite Client” by Mike Monteiro!
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