You have your design agency and in any business, you were told that client is God. It is your responsibility to deliver what they need. Of course, you work on these terms only but sometimes there are situations when the requirements told by client are not the most-suited ones for them. Problem occurs when you know it and you have to make them understand. It is then when your people management skills help. Let me help you out and give you some pointer to deal in such situations. Here is how to tell design clients they are wrong.
Genuine incorrect requirement
Before you proceed to start convincing them to change what they are asking for, make sure what they want is genuinely incorrect. Sometimes, things that look wrong at first place are correct. Hence, instead of questioning their requirement at first place, it is good if you analyse the requirement properly during the requirement analysis phase of your project and become sure about the genuineness of the issue.
Understand their business and perspective
Always, keep in mind that whatever designs you propose are for their business. Hence, it is very important that you have sound knowledge of their business and its need. Without which you are in no position to tell them anything wrong or right. It will also help you in presenting your point more firmly when you try to convince for a change. Put your foot in their shoes and then understand the situation of your clients. It will always help you to get hold of their needs better.
If you are working with old clients then you may not require building trust again. However, if you are working with new clients it is difficult to tell them that they are wrong. It is then, when you need to build trust before you tell them that they are wrong.
Speak in their language and at their frequency levels
Communication is most effective when done at same frequency levels. By frequency levels, I mean the language and level of technicalities that they understand and can appreciate. Client should feel related, only than you can influence their decision.
Present yourself professionally and as an expert
Who will believe you if you do not sound knowledgeable and have enough expertise over the subject? It is extremely important that you sell your skills quite prominently here. I understand a personal touch gives it an edge but when you are dealing with a new client, make sure you sound professional.
Explain cascading effects
Once you are sure that requirements are not the best fit for your client, with thorough understanding you should also foresee the future impact of such wrong requirements. In addition, those must be explained in detail to the client. This will help to build a trust in your client when they see you taking long-term interests.
When I said, you should be presentable; I mean to be prepared with some data and a good proposal. You should present a plan that should gel with their business in every positive manner. This planned approach will surely impress your client and they will listen to you more keenly.
Provide them solutions/alternatives with examples
Well, saying that one thing is wrong or has problem is not sufficient. Immediately a solution or an alternate approach has to be in place. It is the most crucial step as this is how your client will compare the two scenarios. It will help you indirectly as you are making it easy to take a decision by the client.
Client requirement can be correct from their perspective as they can ask you to make some usability mistakes just for the sake of visual appeal. You might take it as wrong but you have to understand their view too as then only you can convince them to think again about their requirements. Sometimes, a solution, which is apt for one business, may not be the best for the other business. This is important that your client understand this when you ask them to reconsider their requirements.
Convincing a client is an art. We do understand this is difficult but in any case, you have to master this skill. Once you do that with great results, it will make a positive impact of you on your clients and this is what I call trust building. So carefully and surely, tell your design clients that they are wrong. Best wishes!