In engaging with a design business, there would be times that your clients will take some move that can affect your project or your client will opt for a certain design matter that is actually wrong. Some designers find it hard to approach their client for fear that they might get mad or that it might cause some trouble for both parties. Well, it is always better to be honest with your clients. If you have informed your client about your concern but your client still wants to stick to their decision, then accept defeat and just follow them. At least, you have forewarned them about it already.

So, if you find it hard to tell your clients that what they did is getting an X mark, we will help you through the tips we have below. These tips are simple but practical. You can choose which ones would be effective for you. Also, bear in mind that you have to look into the type of client you have before you do some action to make sure that things will run smoothly. Check out our tips below.

1. Assess the situation first.

Study the project details well

Before you take a move, look into the entire situation first. Study it carefully and come up with solutions in order to resolve it. Then after doing that, present it to the client and let them know the effects if you do this and that. Showing them all the perspectives of a certain situation can make it easier for them to realize that your suggestion is indeed better.

2. Speak your client’s language.

Interact with clients

When you want to approach your client and let them know what mistakes they have done, make sure that he will be able to understand you. Hence, you need to speak in a language that makes it easy for him to chew on what you had been saying. You would look crazy if you kept on talking using technical terms while your client is just staring blankly at you. So, be sure that you will use words that your client can comprehend. Explain it all well to him to so he can understand.

3. Let the client discuss what he wants.

Let the client discuss what he wants

You can also try this strategy. Before talking about the mistake, ask your client what he wants for the project. This way, you will be able to understand the reason behind his choices. This can also help you come up with an idea on how to help your client. Listen to what your client will say and he will surely appreciate this.

4. Have a good approach.

Have a good approach

Do not just jump in and shout at your client that “Hey! Look at this dumb thing you have done!” Of course, you do not do that. Start the conversation as a professional. Be friendly and amiable. Be sure that you will be able to talk things well with the client by having a good approach. If you will bark at him at once, he would either bark back at you or run away. So, be good.

5. Explain an alternative as an option.

Explain an alternative as an option

“Your idea is good but I think it would be better if we do it this way.” Saying that is a good way to start your explanation as you suggest a better alternative. Consider the good points on how this can help the project. You can also try to compare both and check which can give more advantages. Anyway, it is your client who will benefit more from it. So, doing this also makes them feel that you value them and that the success of the project matters to you.

6. Be an amiable professional.

Be an amiable professional

Stand as an expert in your field. This is vital when you talk about some mistakes that your clients have done. This makes it easier for your client to realize his mistakes since you will be able to tell him which is the right thing. Being professional can also make things a lot easier for both of you. You can observe that when you practice professionalism, you will be able to choose your words well. Also, see to it that you are being kind and friendly while talking to him.

7. Be ready with evidences.

Be ready with evidences

It is best to have evidences presented. This gives your statement more credibility. Your client will also find it easier to accept their mistake upon seeing concrete evidences. Show your client a blog posts or statistics and whatever evidences that you can use to support your recommendations in lieu of what he wants.

8. Do not be grumpy.

Do not be grumpy

Well, people make mistakes and it is also normal for you to feel bad when something goes wrong especially if it had greatly affected the project. So it might cause you to be grumpy. Do not talk to the client in that condition. Try to calm down first and figure out how to best present it to the client without causing trouble for both parties. Compose yourself first so you won’t be grumpy when you speak to your client.

9. Use high profile cases as examples.

Deliver on time

Doing this is even better especially if your example is a respected company in the industry where your client belongs. Use those big names for your explanation and try to tell your client how that company came up with solutions in a similar issue you have. It would even be a lot better if you have worked with these companies for you will be able to explain it more comprehensively.

10. Be direct.

Be direct

Telling the client directly that he is wrong can also be an option. But you have to do this with caution. See to it that you have good rapport with the client and the client is on good mood. Make sure also that your tone of voice is not offending and you are choosing the right words, too. Do not be direct in emails for it can cause misinterpretations. You can only use this method when you are personally talking to the client or talking with them through the phone.

It’s Your Turn Now

Telling your clients that they are wrong about something might be hard on first thought but after trying it, you will realize that it is actually easy especially if you have studied the situation well. You can also apply the tips we have above. Have you experienced telling a client their mistake? Can you tell us how you did it?

Kareen Liez

About the author: A Civil Engineer who has a construction business and a youth volunteer for a civic organization. She also contributes for a local newspaper due to her unwavering passion to write.