A small moment of realisation
I make no bones out of the fact that I’ve made a career out of asking questions; I love it. Digging in and finding out stuff.
I was taking a walk a while ago and had a bit of an ‘Oh, s***!’ moment.
Listening to Todd Henry’s Accidental Creative podcast, the presenter was talking about how, when we work from a place of ego, we don’t do anything like our best work for our clients OR ourselves. This was quite profound when I started to dig into it. It was something I knew to be true and thought I was doing it. However, deep down I knew I’d been working from a place of ego almost my entire life.
When a client comes to me and says ‘Hey Tom, I want a website.’ my first move used to be:
‘OK, great. Thanks for talking to me. So… Why do you want a new website?’
The way I was framing this conversation starter was totally one-sided; it was a challenge to this approaching client who may want to drop some of their hard-earned into my pocket to convince me that the thing they want is the thing they need.
How absolutely backward does this sound?
I found myself becoming ever-more conscious about the way I started conversations and the way I opened the door to clients. Rather than leaping in with a straight ‘OK, why?’ I’ve adopted a much more exploratory approach.
‘OK, great! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about it. How about we explore that a little and make sure that a new website is really the right thing to solve your problem.’
It is not your clients’ job to convince you that the thing they want is the thing they need or that you should just go and make it for them.
Asking an exploratory question or two upfront might feel a bit uncomfortable for both you and the person talking to you, especially if they ‘just want to know how much a website costs’. However, caring a little more and showing interest in their challenge does better for them, you, the work, and the people who end up using whatever it is you make.