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Apr 11, 2012

The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is April 30!), is rapidly approaching. For today’s podcast interview, we have Marcia Hoeck, giving us a preview of her session, Skillful Communication with Clients. 

Q: What’s the biggest mistake creatives make when communicating with clients? 

Marcia: The biggest mistake is not setting the right tone and maybe taking things personally. We’re in a business where it’s our art, it’s our creativity, so we tend to take things more personally. We have to step back and realize this is a business relationship. We have to set the right tone. The client has to place his trust in you in order to feel confident that you can do the work. 

The biggest miscommunication mistake is that we don’t establish ourselves right out of the bag as a partner, as a resource, so that the client can relax. When we feel boxed in by client demands, it’s when our role hasn’t been positioned correctly in the beginning, and that’s our job. If the client knows that you have strategic ideas that will help him, as well as the implementation skills, that client can relax … It gives you equal footing and leverage in the relationship. 

Most powerful people … they’re really not looking for “yes” men. That’s the biggest mistake that I see is when we’re making that assumption that they are, and we’re taking things personally as a creative person. 

Q: Do you think these problems are rooted in the creative professional’s lack of confidence? 

Marcia: I’m really glad you brought up confidence. That isn’t talked about enough in business. People don’t teach it. It isn’t something that comes naturally to creative people. But in creative work especially, where we highly value our work, and we are passionate about our work … we often undervalue our own role in what we do. There’s kind of a disconnect. We have great confidence in our work, and we know the value of our work, and we have great confidence in our ability to do the work, but we often can’t show that confidence when communicating our role in the process. We don’t come off as confident in selling situations, or when defending our pricing … What that comes off as to prospective clients is lack of competence. They think we can’t do the work because we can’t defend it, because we can’t talk about ourselves…

Listen to our 11-minute interview to hear more. Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or sign up for CFC on its own. If you aren’t yet registered for CFC, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before April 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12” 

And listen to the rest of the podcast interview series with our speakers, including Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane Pearlman, Jonathan Cleveland, Ed Gandia, Sarah Duham and Allen Murabayashi