You are sitting with the IT Manager of a potential new client, they have been through your portfolio and like what they have seen and recognise that their website needs some professional help. This would appear to be a very good scenario and it is time to go in and close the deal. But wait the IT Manager just asked me what I thought of the corporate logo or the old website design? I had presumed that was why they had called us … because well it is brutal to say the least.
Like a lamb to the slaughter I tell the truth. The design is horrid and needs a complete rework and that is one of the first places we will start in our brand exercise. There I have said it and I know the client will appreciate my professional honesty, except the look on his face tells me different. I just attacked his work, his baby he was the one that built this, this, what words can describe this brutal attempt at design! There is no place to go, backtracking is a waste of time and the meeting is rapidly coming to a close … but not the deal. No that deal is not going to close, at least with me.
You would think if you have done this once (and I have) you would never do it again! But alas sometimes you get so caught up in the honesty of the moment (and I have) that you forget and blurt out again how bad something is … and again go home without the deal in your pocket. Generally I presume it is not because you want to show the client how bad something is, but rather it is because you are so excited, as you know your team can make a very good impression and build something that works for the client.
Lessons learned in over 14 years in this business? First designers design, sometimes well and sometimes not so well, but for the most part they make very poor software coders. Second software coders write code and again sometimes well and sometimes not so well, but for the most part they make very poor designers. Third, it is probably best not to tell either group that generalisation to their face. It does not go over well.
Lastly and I know this so well from my years in the life insurance sales, a lifetime ago, when you know you have closed a deal and everyone is comfortable and chatting with their guard down … shut up!
Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.