dark mode light mode Search

Designers: How to Negotiate with Skeptical Customers

Designers often find themselves needing to explain their design concepts to their customers. At times, designers might need to persuade customers on how the design can result in tangible business benefits. If your prospective customer doesn’t seem open to your ideas, you may have to learn to negotiate effectively or risk losing business. 

While designers can cultivate their sales skills, dealing with skeptical customers can get easier if you go online to search for the best negotiation classes near me. If you often find yourself having to negotiate your concepts with skeptical customers, then you would do well to follow these four winning strategies. 

Anticipate Customer Concerns

A crucial part of being a successful designer is knowing what your customer wants, sometimes even before the customer knows themselves. Good designers tend to have insights on how design influences customer behavior and affects user experience. You are likely aware of the possible benefits and pitfalls. So, with your professional eye, try and look at the design from the customer’s point of view. 

Connect your design concept to the customer’s business needs. Figure out what the customer needs in a design and how your ideas can support the customer’s goals. To prepare well, you can play devil’s advocate by poking holes in your own concept, looking at what the customer may not find appealing. If you can look at the concept from the customer’s perspective, you may better understand why they are skeptical and how to persuade them. 

If you feel too close to your designs to impartially play the customer’s role, then ask a design colleague to be your customer. Give your colleague a brief description of your customer’s persona, and resist arguing or defending. Focus on asking questions.

Explain Your Decisions

A customer may be skeptical, often because they don’t understand your thought process. In negotiation class, attendees learn how to patiently walk customers through their decision-making process. Explain why your design elements work to bring about the customer’s desired results. 

For instance, you can start by explaining your color palette. Why are your chosen colors best for the design? You can then move to explain the finer details, such as your ad placement. 

Explaining your decisions works to convince skeptical customers, and it can also build trust. By unraveling your thought process, your customer can feel confident that the design is well thought out with their goals in mind. 

Provide Proof of Concept

 Designers: How to Negotiate with Skeptical Customers

Why is the customer skeptical in the first place? Most likely it’s because your customer doesn’t yet believe in the feasibility of your design. For better negotiation results, it pays to back up how your ideas could achieve the customer’s goals. 

In design, the proof of concept includes presenting evidence of how similar designs have performed. Are there case studies to show how similar designs have influenced viewer decisions? Are there any measurable metrics by authoritative third parties, like a study done by a market research firm? If your concept is backed up with solid research, then you have the best chance of turning around a skeptical customer. 

Listen Actively

What are your customer’s underlying concerns? The best way to uncover a customer’s concerns is by asking the customer themselves. Is the problem with the design or their unconscious expectations? Communication classes can hone your active listening skills for better customer relations. 

Asking questions can improve your understanding of the customer’s needs and the project’s goals. Answers to your questions can define the scope of work. By asking targeted questions, you gain insights into the customer’s longer-term goals and their thought process. Your customers also gain confidence that you’re aligned by working with their end goals in mind. 

Write out your questions beforehand and listen closely to the answers you receive. Brainstorm with the customer on how to implement their ideas into your concept. 

Getting Your Customer to Say Yes

Not all your customers will take readily to your ideas. Some will be skeptical, and you may need to make some extra effort to bring them on board. 

Fine-tuning your skills through negotiation classes can make it easier to convince a skeptical customer of the benefits of your design. Showing proof of concept backed up with research can go a long way to convincing customers about your design. 

Asking well-honed questions and actively listening to the answers guides you and the customer on improving the design. By putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can better understand any upcoming issues. By explaining your rationale, the customer can gain confidence that all your design elements target their project’s objectives.