Last weeks Getting Real Workshop was a blast. Especially the pushback. We had a healthy batch of skeptical folks this time which always makes for a better discussion.
Besides the usual but this wont work in our company, we had a good bit of people doubting if you can Get Real with clients. The answer is yes you can. Weve done it plenty of times. Its certainly not as easy as getting real on your own, but it is possible if you just give it a try.
The main issue most people have with the Getting Real process and client work is all the charts, graphs, documentation, wireframes, and flow diagrams they think they need to deliver. Getting Real eschews paperwork and trashcan deliverables. People will say but our big clients expect this stuff to which we reply why? to which they reply because we said wed deliver them. EUREKA.
They expect them because you said youd deliver them. Weve done web design work for hire since 1995 so I think its safe to say that we have some experience here. People expect what you tell them to expect. If you tell them theyre going to get all these documents then theyll expect you to deliver all these documents. If you dont promise all these documents then they wont expect them. It works, weve done it for years.
So, heres what you can do to Get Real with your clients. Lose a few documents in your next proposal. Instead of promising the recommendations document, the flow diagrams, the wireframes, that whatever-the-document-is-called, leave a few of them out of your next proposal. No one will miss them. Each time you write a proposal, leave a little more out of the proposal. No one will miss it.
Clients want the final product. They only care about the middle because you promise to give them the middle. Try it sometime, youll see. The sooner you work on something real, the sooner you can show your client something real. That makes for happy clients. Happier clients are more trusting clients. And more trusting clients allow you to do better work. This isnt fantasy its real.
Before you say but just give it a try and see what happens. By losing a little at a time youll realize that the stuff youre losing was stuff you never needed anyway. Youll free yourself from the tyranny of documentation and deliverables that go in the trash anyway.
And one more thing Those 10 page proposals? Youre wasting five pages. Cut them in half. [Signal vs. Noise]