What makes the perfect client?

In summary You had me at "I'm smart enough to know what I don't know. I know my business, but this is your business, so I'll trust you."

Client trust inspires better work. When we operate under the impression that clients value our expertise, we take more chances and produce better results.

We have a lot of good clients, but one of them deserves to be singled out for praise. Naturally, I won’t name names, but when we were discussing the color scheme of an email template, the client said, “That color is driving me crazy, but I’ll take your word for it.” It so happens we were recommending a color scheme that flies in the face of this client’s industry–an industry known for conservative layout, fonts and color choices. While we weren’t being irresponsible, or contrary for its own sake, we told this client that the materials had a better chance of standing out if they didn’t default to the “prescribed design notions” of the industry.

The client responded: “I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know. I know my business, but this is your business, so I’ll trust you.”

In a word? Trust. In two words? Trust and self-confidence. (Is a hyphenated word one word?) A perfect client will know their business inside and out and trust us to know ours. Does that mean there isn’t room for give-and-take, for challenging each other’s thinking? Of course not, and we don’t presume to be the final word on any matter–we just presume to have an edge, an educated opinion that comes from years of schooling or experience or even trial-and-error. Chances are, we’ve been at this a lot longer than any one of our clients. There’s a reason we got into this business. And, despite what a lot of your relatives think, not just “anyone can do it.” True, many think they can.

But I digress. I’m talking about the perfect client.