Most clients don’t really know how to evaluate design firms. Also, due to the large sums of money they are spending on projects, they’re scared of being blamed for making a bad choice.
Imagine how you might apply empathy to this tense situation. Rather than react to every onerous RFP, why not meet with potential clients well in advance of the selection process? Why not ask if they want your help in writing the RFP? Your inside knowledge can help them avoid pitfalls.
Interview your clients
Instead of talking about your work for most of that intro meeting (Me! Me! Me!…oh right, you), what if you used this time to understand where they’re coming from (You! You! Me!).
Yes, we should bring our portfolio and be ready to tell a story that demonstrates our depth of knowledge. Yes we should focus on a relevant example that paints a picture of what it’s like to work with us. But we can enrich relationships and gain an edge by interviewing our clients. Maybe we can help shape the content of the RFP and be the proverbial firm with the inside track. I have been in this advisory/winning position several times, so I know it can be done.
Empathy-driven questions for a client might include:
1. What are your biggest challenges?
2. What do you look for when choosing a design consultant?
3. What problems do you seek to avoid?
4. Do you have any dissatisfactions with your current RFP process?
5. How important is the fee in your selection?