The digital design space is unique, because it is an industry of largely positive dialogue and sharing. We collectively care about the web, so we want to help our clients solve their digital and/or content-related problems. Ultimately, as vendors and practitioners, we’re in this together.
Establishing trust in the sales process
During the sales process, clients and vendors spend a lot of time trying to assess fit and build trust. Unfortunately, many clients and vendors forge ahead into projects despite the evidence or gut feeling that says “get out.” This lack of trust often results in an unpleasant project experience, yes, but it also builds resentment that lasts beyond the project duration. For each negative engagement a client has, its team expects the same of the next, making it increasingly difficult for any future vendor to gain that client’s trust.
Showing passion and professionalism
Pursuing work that excites staff and is fulfilling drives our passion for the web. Clients like to see that prospective vendors are not only qualified, but are excited to work with them. Picking up work to pay your bills is respectable, but only being invested financially in your client’s success does affect the engagement itself. Apathy is not a value clients embrace, and vendors who show it teach clients to expect that attitude from all future vendors. To compensate, clients may base future vendor selections too heavily on a potential vendor’s enthusiasm.
Committing to best practice
Vendors who don’t adhere to best practice set a poor example. Whether there’s loose scope or a client is not held accountable to deadlines, the next vendor will face a client that sees this as normal behavior. This doesn’t mean you have to hammer clients for slips along the way, but accountability is key to any working relationship. Clients benefit from following best practice, and the next vendor will surely thank you for setting up the client for future project success.
As the market shifts, bends, and turns, I hope we all remember that how we conduct ourselves means as much to our comrades as it does to our clients, because you could always be the vendor that is called upon next.