Congratulations, you just won the lottery! The world wants to know - what are you gonna do next?
Now most people would blurt out something crazy fun. We might say, “Go to Disney World!” Or maybe we'd finally get Lamborghinis for the whole team. Maybe we'd go ahead and retire on a yacht in the Mediterranean.
But is that what we NEED?
In many businesses, whether as a client or a vendor, we often find ourselves pitting our wants against our needs. This can be hard to decipher depending on the client / vendor relationship. Hard, but necessary. It’s easy to get caught up in our wants - They are grand, they are exciting, they are fun. But what is the purpose of our work? What are we trying to accomplish or excel at? Do the bells and whistles help us achieve our vision?
Let’s use a case study:
Here a Hotbed, we recently started working with a company that’s hoping to expand its workforce by creating a video that will inspire people to work for them. In short - a recruiting video.
Now sometimes clients can be full of ideas and become frenetic in the creative process. Other times, a client may be dealing with something they’ve never done before, and prefer to be coached through the whole process.
Either way, it’s OUR job, as a creative visual studio, to help the client find the best solution to their end goal. In this case, to recruit people. So, how do we do that?
First thing’s first - define your objective. As I mentioned this project’s goal is recruiting. We have to ask what our “must haves” are and what our visual style is. What is conducive to the client’s branding? What sort of culture or facts do they want to get across to potential future employees? What, in the mind of the client, do these potential employees need to walk away with after viewing the video?
While a vendor mulls over these questions, the most important thing they can do is listen. Listening to a client during talks - whether official meetings or casual speaking - is the most important way to find out what they really need. Through conversation we are able to figure out where the importance of a project lies and why it lies there. We can encourage a driven client’s fun ideas while also making sure that they are relevant to the objective. Together we can still create something elegant, mature, and fun while still making sure the message is about trying to convince people to work at a particular company.
Building helpful and collaborative relationships is key. Both parties must be open to feedback, staying conceptual during the beginning, and brainstorming the creative approach. Both parties must use language that both can understand and a vendor must ask questions to really gauge where a client is coming from.
Probe and dig for real answers underneath all of the excitement and / or uncertainty a client may have for the project. Help them realize these answers so that they feel confident in the direction and their decisions during the duration of the project. Learn about their past experiences - what’s working and what isn’t, so that you can better collaborate and contribute to them and their cause as a vendor.
All of this will help a vendor build loyalty and trust with a client during the project and beyond. In this way, we are able to help instead of sell, to offer a discussion rather than a pitch. And it is through constant communication and open mindedness that we, as vendors, are the most successful at providing an effective product.
So we’ve won the lottery. We suppose that defining a practical, reasonable financial plan would be most prudent BEFORE we start shopping for that yacht.