Choosing Your Clients

Posted by | Dec 6, 2016

Choosing ClientsThis year I’ve talked myself out of more than a dozen jobs. And it felt right. Graphic recording/facilitation makes a huge splash in the room, but when does “new and cool” become a hindrance to the event?

When we first start out in our careers, we say yes to everything. Saying no is a very scary thing when the next job may pay your rent. But over time, we notice that some jobs just don’t feel right. The client isn’t the right fit, the visuals aren’t used effectively,and we’re left on the sidelines wondering why we’re there.

So when do you say no? How can you tell if the flag that’s waving in the distance is red? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before saying yes to any job.

When do you feel valued?
Every person enjoys a different working environment, and we need to give ourselves permission to be honest about when we do our best work. Do you like to be more hands-off in the planning process, or knee-deep in the design and facilitation? Be bold and set clear expectations upfront with yourself and your client, and then follow through.

What type of listening/graphic capture are you best at?
There’s a wide variety of experiences and styles in our field, and not every style fits with every client engagement. When matching team members with clients, I think about the type of workshop, the client’s meeting outcomes, and the background/listening style of my team member. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. Be honest about your strengths and preferences. This will lead to success at the wall.

Does the client truly need you?
We ask clients why they want graphic recording, but we’re asking the wrong question. They don’t know what they don’t know. As experts in our field, with experiences in different industries and settings, it’s our job to assess and determine if and how our work will help move their process forward. What are the client’s meeting outcomes and will we help achieve them? Do they need to increase memory retention or facilitate process? Will the visual experience create clarity, drive deeper conversations, and crystallize connections?

Is graphic recording/facilitation being considered in the design process?
This is the key to success in our work, and it applies in every setting from large conferences to small workshops. If the answer is no, we can only fulfill our contractual obligations; we will not, however, have maximum impact in the room. Clients who are thinking of visuals as part of the process, are thinking about how it impacts meeting outcomes, and how it can be used in the long-term.

Do you like the person you’re speaking to?
As independent contractors, we have the luxury of choosing our clients. Our days are long, the work is exhausting (both mentally and physically), and we are away from our families days at a time. Take a moment and listen to your gut. Life is too short to work with _____.

Think about your favorite client, and list out why the partnership was so successful. Tack it up on your wall and look at it every time you’re talking to a new client. Ask yourself on every intake call, “Do I want to hire them?”

Leave a Reply