Graphic designers have a lot of challenges in their careers. From the project to the clients, everyone needs to face them over time. While it is inevitable, you can tell that designers need to talk with customers to secure a deal. Conversation skills, discussion, and understanding of each other are needed. But how if your client is non-tech savvy?
Non-tech savvy clients are not something weird in this line of job. There are many cases the discussion goes haywire due to the inability to understand the challenge and the design project. In this case, designers need some tricks to talk and discuss the matter. Considering the lack of technology knowledge, here are the methods to talk with non-tech savvy clients.
1. Don't Underestimate Their Knowledge
The first thing that you need to do is not underestimate the client's knowledge. They might be non-tech savvy, but it does not mean they do not know anything. The thing is, graphic design or any other type of design is fairly known in public. Many sources can teach everyone about design or technology.
So, curb your arrogance about technology or your knowledge. Don't ever ask your client whether they know or not about the project. How if they understand some of the terms such as masking, layering, or other? Most likely, they will laugh at your question and doubt. The worse is they get offended and decide to annul the contract.
This is one of the sins that you need to avoid at all costs. You should not patronize the client and make them uncomfortable. At some point, discuss and talk in a neutral tone. Explain all of the brief and the project brief as much as you need. Use terms and discuss as if you are talking with a client that is familiar with the idea but doesn't overdo it.
As you tell them, look at their expression and doubt. If you see a bit of confusion in your non-tech savvy clients' faces, throw them some time to ask. The main point is to discuss and talk about the information while making sure you can balance the playing field. How if the client is hesitant to talk, discuss, and ask? In this case, you are the one who has to ask for their input.
You should ask the non-tech savvy client how much they know about the project. Again, make it sound neutral so you can keep them happy and content to discuss the project. It also helps your client a lot since you can lift their weight to discuss and understand the alien term. At some point, this method also helps both parties not to waste time.
However, there are also times that it is hard to read your customer. In other words, you have to discuss and talk with non-tech savvy clients without knowing how much they grasp the subject. So, what should you do? Again, you have to avoid any kind of underestimating gestures. Try to talk and discuss as neutral as possible, so no one gets offended.
Indeed, this is not an easy thing to do. You are bound to lead the discussion with your non-tech savvy client. But if you are looking for a deeper conversation, you can start asking some fishing questions. It is not about fishing, but try to throw baits to know their knowledge. With some of the questions, you can judge their reaction. It works best for face-to-face interviews.
2. Know The Client's Expertise
On the previous point, you got a glimpse of how important it is to know the non-tech savvy client's expertise. Surprisingly, many times customers are not good at showing their participation in the interview. Thus, it ended with you or the designer leading the discussion. In this case, you might find it hard to discuss and talk for deeper conversation.
It is especially true since you don't know the non-tech savvy knowledge. So, the best way is to ask for their expertise without offending your client. To do it, you need fishing techniques. The fishing technique will help you throw some bait to see how much your non-tech savvy client knows about the project.
It will eventually help you discuss and talk with the non-tech savvy people easier. But how to do it? In this case, you can assume that they are not non-tech savvy at all. In other words, they are knowledgeable about a graphic design project. Bring up some generic conversation and discuss the project or your industry.
To help you, you can ask some generic questions such as What kind of design do you like, what operating system do you use, or what style are you looking for? Those generic questions can help you start a neutral talk. It is also a great way to discuss and talk about some of the groundings of the project. The non-tech savvy or well-informed client will accept these kinds of inquiries.
Of course, it is not enough to make details, discuss, or talk in an in-depth conversation. However, the main purpose of throwing the non-tech savvy heavy questions is to discover their expertise on basic terms. This is a great way to reach and talk with non-tech savvy clients in a more friendly way. It eventually helps you know some details about the customers.
You can see from their expressions, reactions, and gestures. If they make some gesture that shows they are a non-tech savvy person or don't understand some terms, that is what you need to hold on to. It surprisingly helps a lot when you discuss and talk face to face. You can see thoroughly about their non-tech savvy meter, experience, or relation to the topic.
Try to be as respectful and neutral as possible when you are throwing some fishing questions. At the same time, take hold and avoid some offensive questions that show your doubt about the non-tech savvy clients. Since you are trying to discuss and talk about the topic, use some of the terms from the grounding level. So, you know their non-tech savvy knowledge.
Some of the questions to discuss can be pretty simple. For the writing industry, ask about their favorite authors or websites. Ask about whether the client subscribes to RSS or how familiar they are with the programming process. Discuss the same manner for the graphic design industry, such as what kind of program or image editing software they use.
From the answer, you can measure how bad your customer's non-tech savvy meter is. If they are at the grounding level or do know nothing, then you can adjust the way you talk and discuss the term. At some point, your non-tech savvy client might reveal their expertise in the topic while you are asking the questions. It will be a helpful guide for your interview.
3. Be An Honest Designer
Dealing with a non-tech savvy can be tough at a point; their lack of knowledge makes it harder to discuss or talk. You also need to be prepared with some unexpected tricky questions thrown by the client. Again, this is why you should not underestimate their knowledge. They might not have proper expertise in the topic, but they might know more than you.
So, how if the patron asks some unrelated question for you? The good way to handle it is to not pretend you know everything. If you want to discuss and talk with non-tech savvy clients, you need to be honest. It is a no-brainer for every designer, to be honest with their customer—no matter whether they are non-tech savvy or an expert in it.
Being honest helps clients to perceive your service. They will feel appreciated and get more familiar with your service. Tell the truth about yourself, so you can connect, talk, and discuss in a friendly manner. If they ask or request something that is too non-tech savvy and impossible to achieve with your skill, tell them the truth.
You can say that you will get back to them later to discuss and talk about the solution. Don't assume that you know everything and say their request is impossible. If you know it is hard or not doable, you can offer the best alternatives. Be sincere and upfront about your business. So your non-tech savvy client will appreciate your effort to provide service.
4. Explain Slowly And Simple
There are times that the non-tech savvy people ask crazy requests due to their lack of expertise and misconception about the topic. They might want to ask you to do the impossible since your client doesn't know better. If you find the need for explanation, then do so. In this case, you can discuss and talk to your non-tech savvy client slowly.
Explain to your customer why and what the reasons for the topic are impossible. You can also discuss some details regarding the topic in a more friendly talk. It helps a lot if you have to tell the reasons to not do what they want, instead of doing with your solution. The trick to nailing conversation with the non-tech savvy is to tell them slowly and simply.
In this case, try to avoid any strange technical jargon. You better talk and discuss in plain English. Keep it simple and slow so your non-tech savvy client can absorb all of the details. It also helps a lot if you can provide examples here and there. At most, explaining the job to your client will never be easy, especially for non-tech savvy ones.
Use the 5W1H question and answer for your customer. It will make your talk look more grounding and easier to discuss further. Try to put yourself in the customer or client's shoes. Imagine when you need to discuss and talk about some crazy medical term with a doctor. As a person with limited knowledge in the field, you will find how hard it is to follow.
It is a trick that every freelancer or professional needs to nail in their career. Talking slow and simple helps you reach more audiences, including the non-tech savvy people. It also helps a lot if you can discuss and talk in familiar terms and slow down. Again, make sure that you got your client to understand at least the grounding detail before sealing the deal.
5. Use References
As said in the previous point, you need to explain and discuss some details with your patron. When they are non-tech savvy, the best way to connect and show proper details is by using examples. Examples of references are the best weapons for designers. You can provide some familiar references such as pictures or details to discuss and talk with non-tech savvy clients.
However, you should pay attention to the references. Since your client doesn't understand, try to use a situation and scenario that fits their background knowledge. The primary key is to relate the reference to them. You can use analogies and be creative with the references. Make sure your customer can grasp the point of the references that you want to discuss.
6. Focus On Talking For Result
With some simple and easy-to-understand talk, you can ensure your customer knows better by focusing on the result. There are times that non-tech savvy doesn't give any attention to understanding the behind the scene process. They only state their project and what they want as a result. In this case, make sure you have to talk and discuss with the client thoroughly.
Many times, the non-tech savvy client requests something impossible, hard, or crazy due to the lack of understanding. The best example is creating a complex design that needs months to finish but instead wants you to finish faster. As you need to be honest about the project, you also need to talk and discuss the result.
Talk in terms of results, such as telling the how, what, and why you should or should not do the process. It will keep your patron pay attention and be more appreciative toward your job. Design is one of the jobs that many people misunderstand. That is why you need to discuss and explain a lot about the process.
However, when you talk in terms of the result, you get the chance to explain technically and also highlight the outcome. If you know that it is the best, talk with non-tech savvy clients more earnestly. You can also persuade the client about the result so they know what to expect at the end of the project.
The sense of highlighting the result makes people more focused and easier to understand. You can discuss some of the details regarding the steps needed while telling the possible result. It helps you to talk and discuss more with the result-focused client. It is also a great way to explain to non-tech savvy people since they can understand the result without complicated jargon.
7. Write all of the Data
Bringing your pen and paper when interviewing can help reach the client, especially for the non-tech savvy people. The goal is to discuss and talk about the project while also providing a written detail. Since they lack expertise about the topic, people will enjoy reading and re-read the information for the project.
If you just meet your customer, you can write down some information and talk with them. After the talk with a non-tech savvy client, give the written data. Use it to share resources that may be relevant. It will allow the client to learn more about the project and get familiar with some terms. It also gives erudition about what you need to discuss.
Eventually, the non-tech savvy client can get more open in the next interview. They will discuss and talk more. At the same time, you got more details for the project. The written document can also include some resources. You can share links to eBooks or Wikipedia that are related to the topic. You don't need to do it manually; word documents also work.
8. Offer Ask And Question Session
The ask and question session mostly comes at the end. But when it comes to a tech-savvy client, you better provide time in between your explanation. The idea is to encourage them to talk, discuss, and clarify some of the points. It is critical since the design field is filled with many jargon, terms, and complicated processes.
At this point, you need to be willing to answer any questions. Highly possible that your customer might ask something ridiculous, simple, or complicated. Your patron might look confused, which is the trigger for you to offer more explanation. If you talk with non-tech savvy clients indirectly (email or chat), don't undervalue and make them look stupid.
When you need to discuss a graphic design project, most likely, people will use too much jargon and terms. When you have to talk with non-tech savvy clients, it is a different story. Designers need to know every detail about the client, tell and explain honestly, easily, and truthfully. They also need to write everything down to make it easier to understand.