Do you find yourself with a creative business challenge? Is there a gap with where you are now and where you’d like to be? If so, you may find it necessary to reach out to a creative professional. Ideally they can help close this gap by creating a solution tailored to your needs.
If this pertains to you, then it starts with a new project consultation!
New project consultations are an incredibly important part of the design process. They are for the benefit of both the potential client and designer. By gathering relevant info via an initial consultation, they enable designers to determine your needs and best solution moving forward.
“Hearing is one of our five senses, but listening is an art.”
Picture the Following Scenarios:
Is your car acting up? Do you need to pay the Doc a visit due to injury or illness? In each case, the mechanic or Doc will ask you important questions about you or your car’s “symptoms”. They need to gather preliminary information to get to the root of your particular situation. By asking pertinent questions and with active listening, they can determine what the best solution may be to resolve your circumstances.
You go to a Doctor because you are not feeling well.
To determine what ails you and what the best course of action will be to get you healthy again, the Doc asks you a series of questions like:
• Are you coughing?
• Does your throat hurt?
• Do you have a fever?
• Body aches and pains?
The Doc is gathering relevant, important info so he can provide you with a treatment. One that best addresses you current condition – aka a diagnosis. He’s identifying the nature of the illness or condition by an examination of the symptoms.
You go to a mechanic because your car appears to be making a funny noise among other things. Just like the Doc, the car mechanic begins to ask you a series of questions to best determine what the problem is. This way he can determine what needs to be fixed in order to get your car running smoothly once again.
Initial consultations for design work in a similar way:
They allow the creative to learn more about you and your project’s objectives, diagnose and best address your needs.
“Asking good questions promotes engagement, builds relationships and gives deeper insights into a customer or prospect’s needs.”
Be Prepared to Answer Some Basic Questions
If you do reach out to a designer about a new project, be prepared to answer some basic questions. The questions may vary from designer to designer/studio. But they will likely include:
• Who is the decision maker for the project?
• What is the deadline of the project?
• What does a successful outcome look like?
• How much are you willing to invest in this project?*
• What is your level of commitment to the project?
*You know what you have to spend.
Is it $500, $5000, $10000?
Please give us something tangible to work with as we need to know this for a number of reasons.
Project Consultations Can Save You Money
It’s NOT a sales pitch! So often what may seem like an innocent consultation is nothing more than trying to sell you something. This is not the case. In fact the opposite is true. The intention is that by gathering information and listening to you, what you thought you needed is not the case at all – thus saving you money.
Say you notice a decrease in sales calls or leads coming from your website. As this is your primary revenue generating channel for your business, the drop is cause for concern. Your first thought may be that you need a new website. However, that may not be the case at all.
Enter a project consultation.
It would help to address these concerns by asking questions like:
• Does your site continue to provide value?
• Is your site mobile-friendly?
• Is your site kept regularly updated?
If your site is not mobile friendly, that needs to be addressed promptly. If it is and you’ve been tending to your site regularly (and you should), your site may just need some search engine optimization. SEO is still an investment. But a lot less than a whole new site that you did not need!
Consultations Can Be Incredibly Beneficial
There may be aspects of your business you have not considered. However, they are incredibly important and should to be taken into account before a new project should commence. Consultations can help bring these matters to light. Often what you want and what you need vary greatly!
By gathering initial info, it can assist in the best approach to reach a successful solution. As such, project consultations can be incredibly beneficial.
Determining if You are You a Good Fit for Each Other
There can be different determine factors as to whether or not a creative may take on a given project. These can be your timeframe vs. a designer’s availability, the types of organizations they work with etc. These factors can ultimately define whether or not you may be a good fit for each other – which is a good thing to figure out early on!
However, if the fit between a client’s needs and willingness to invest in a project is suitable, then a next step may be taken.
So if a creative you’d like to work requires an initial consultation, do not balk at doing so. Be prepared to answer some basic questions about your project. More often than not, most graphic designers and/or creatives offer an initial consultation which is complimentary. The length of time of the consultation may vary – but you’re still getting a freebie! 🙂
Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.