Does this sound familiar?
Your client asks you to make the logo bigger … and the image smaller … and the headline red. So you do.
But the client says it’s still not right. So he asks for a new image and he rewrites the headline. But that doesn’t look right either.
Meanwhile the budget is blown … the deadline is at risk … and worse yet, the client’s trust in the agency is waning.
Luckily, there’s an easy two-step process to stop the endless rounds of revisions.
Your Training Has Focused on the Process
As an Account Executive, you are trained how to handle client revisions. The request comes in and you have specific procedures to follow.
There’s project management software to update, discussions to have with team members, schedules to adjust, and more. You’re trained to make sure your communication with the team is clear and complete, filling them in on all the specific requests the client has made.
It’s an elaborate process you follow to ensure the project moves to the next step towards its completion.
Don’t get me wrong. This is very important training. You should exceed expectations when it comes to following internal procedures and communicating clearly. But even doing all this well still results in multiple revision rounds.
Clients Jump to a Solution
When we see a problem, our instinct is to solve it. And sometimes, it’s just easier to explain the problem by providing a solution.
So when clients don’t like the ad, brochure, website … whatever … they immediately jump into problem solving mode. They put on their art director hat and start redesigning. Or their copywriting hat. Or both!
But clients are not trained art directors, designers, or writers. They haven’t studied visual relationships, motivations, and behaviors. They haven’t spent years honing these crafts.
Clients don’t realize the change they are requesting is actually creating another problem.
This is why clients don’t like the revision when they see it … even though it’s exactly what they requested.
So let’s fix this …
Step 1: Understand the Client’s Problem
The first key to successful client revisions is to understand the reason for the change. To understand the problem the client is trying to solve.
Why is this so important?
Let’s say the client wants a lower element on the page moved up towards the top. And you know since you’re now trained to ask why … that it’s because the client believes that element is actually the most important thing on the page.
Clearly, this is information that was missing in the original project input, but that’s a whole other issue.
If the creative team understands that this one element is actually the most important thing to communicate, they may suggest a bigger change.
Like writing a new headline! Or something else that will address the underlying problem. And likely one the client hasn’t thought of.
So don’t settle for making the client’s change … ask the client why he wants that change. And let the skilled creatives be the ones to solve the problem.
But there’s one more important step.
Step 2: Get Buy in for Alternative Solutions
The second step is to ask the client if he is interested in alternative solutions the creative team may come up with.
Don’t make any assumptions here. Be sure to discuss this with the client and ask the question directly.
Let him know that you’ll pass his request along to the creative team … that they may have other ideas for how to solve this problem … and would he be interested in seeing those?
I’ve never had a client say no.
And you will have successfully set the client’s expectation that the creative team will recommend the best solution based on the problem.
Communicate Clearly with the Team
Armed with this information from the client, be sure to provide everything you learned to the team … the specific changes the client wants, the reason for the changes or the problem he’s solving, and the fact that the client is interested in alternative solutions to the problem, while following all the necessary procedures.
This will be your best shot at stopping the revision merry-go-round after the first set of changes.
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