In this week’s episode we look at the benefits of working with clients remotely vs. working with them face to face. We dig into why there really is no substitute for in person interaction, but do give you some tips for how to mimic this personal interaction in your emails and digital correspondence with clients. This episode is a real guide of how to think about dealing with clients and we hope that you enjoy it. So without further ado, let’s get into the show!

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Meet Your Hosts

The Honest Designers Show started when our founder Tom found he was regularly chatting and sharing tips with top designers; Ian Barnard, Lisa Glanz and Dustin Lee. We soon organised a weekly call where we would help each other with areas we were struggling with and try to give each other actionable feedback. Soon we realised that the collective experience of the group was proving so valuable for each of us, that we thought ‘why not share these conversations with the world?’.

And so, The Honest Designers Show was born! This podcast is an insight into how to succeed in the creative industry, as well as giving you a totally transparent, under the hood look at some of the tougher, less glamorous hurdles to overcome! We also tend to get a little goofy along the way, so this is a chance to get to know each of us a little better :). We’ve loved recording this show for you, and we hope that you find value and enjoyment in listening to it.


Please find full show notes for this episode below:

[1:00] In this week’s episode we’re looking at client relationships and more specifically at the differences between working with clients remotely vs. working with them face to face
[2:00] Ian Barnard is on holiday and the other hosts are wondering what will the dynamic of the show be without a host
[3:00] Tom used to do both back in his freelance days and loved the in-person interaction as you can get more done and get instant feedback
[3:40] This reminds Tom of the big negative of in person interaction as client’s will end up looking over your shoulder
[4:00] Dustin remembers that about 10 years ago people used to mostly work with people that were local
[5:00] Lisa mentions that she started with local clients and this has helped her establish the initial relationship with them
[5:50] If you’re looking at long term relationships you should probably put in the effort and meet your clients face-to-face
[6:30] For one off jobs meetings could end up being a waste of time
[7:30] Dustin mentions a good way of building real relationships is becoming friends with your clients
[8:10] Building a relationship is all that matters – it’s up to you how you to find the best way to do it
[8:50] Tom thinks that if the four hosts were closer to each other their relationship and friendship would have developed faster
[9:20] Meeting in person is still very important and there is no real substitute for it
[9:50] It’s much easier to explain your processes and get a better brief when meeting clients face to face
[11:00] Conferences are a great way of meeting people and developing relationships which couldn’t have otherwise been established via email
[12:30] Tom has met Ian a couple of times but looks forward to meeting Lisa and Dustin in person
[12:50] Tom tells the hosts how incredible it was meeting Elijah, one of our oldest customers
[14:00] Dustin remember meeting a great customer and how many things he found about him while meeting in person
[14:50] Meeting someone that you’ve only known online is almost like meeting a celebrity, because you know so much about them already
[15:30] Technology has enabled us to communicate remotely with so many people
[16:00] Dustin wonders how people used to work and communicate remotely before the Internet boom
[16:30] There’s never been a better time to be a designer
[17:00] Client’s find it difficult to articulate what they want and meeting them in person will make this easier
[18:00] You need to meet the client and see their company to get a good feel of the work they really need, not what they think they need
[18:30] You can really show your expertise when meeting the client in person
[19:30] Fake designers might hide online but can’t hide when meeting the client face to face
[20:00] A huge benefit of meeting in person is that clients can see the kind of person you are
[21:30] “Sitting and having a beer with someone is the equivalent of talking for a year on Twitter” – Dustin Lee
[22:00] Explaining to a non-designer what you do is much easier face to face
[22:45] It’s beneficial to have people skills and show your personality before starting work on a project
[23:30] Once you’ve done the ground work the client will know you better and understand you when communicating via non-personal channels
[24:30] Sometimes meeting face to face is just not possible
[25:15] Quick fire tips – ways to communicate when it’s not possible to meet face to face
[27:00] A personal card/gift will help break the digital divide
[27:50] Dustin mentions the DC personal video tweets and how much they meant to him
[28:30] Use the right platforms for the right type of communication
[29:40] Put in a bit of effort and take note of your client’s current situation
[31:20] Do the personal touches for as many clients as you can
[32:00] Dustin made personalized postcards and has these ready for whenever he needs to send them
[33:00] The project brief is very important so make sure you ask the questions and get all the details you need
[34:00] Dustin thinks that video calls are very useful to clarify project details
[34:45] Tom mentions the most common downfall or video calls: connection drops and unflattering freeze faces
[36:40] Dustin and Tom say this is true for pictures as well, and it’s very hard to find the one good picture in which everyone looks okay
[37:40] If you can’t meet with clients make the effort to go to a couple conferences
[38:20] Dustin found this very beneficial as he always got a good contract from a conference
[38:50] Find someone to go with as it might be easier to start conversations and network
[39:40] Dustin found some important partners this way
[40:10] People are used to being spammed online so they will usually have their guards up
[40:40] Conferences help break these barriers
[41:30] Tom is setting a reminder for himself to find some conferences to attend
[42:10] Conferences can be beneficial for everyone no matter the design experience of the designer attending
[42:40] Dustin mentions local meet-ups
[43:20] Tom went to an entrepreneurs meet-up but wasn’t impressed
[44:00] Dustin would like an invite for the four Honest Designers hosts to ‘Weapons of Mass Creation Fest”
[44:50] Dustin prefers smaller conferences as most people attending will share the same hostel which makes them interact easier
[46:20] Tom reiterates the importance of meeting clients in person
[47:00] Treat your clients like a friend and talk about stuff outside of work
[47:30] “We buy from people we like” – Dustin Lee
[48:20] Think of your clients as people and less as clients
[48:40] Don’t worry about impressing them
[49:00] Take advantage of any opportunity to meet them in person
[49:50] Thank you for listening to this week’s episode

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