The Unripe Customer
Have you ever bitten into a piece of fruit and instantly recognize the fact that it’s unripe? Of course you have. We all have. It’s that banana whose peel tears mid pull. It’s the cantaloupe guessing game. It’s the mango you need for a recipe but she’s just not ready yet.
What about the unripe customer? Have you ever come across one of those?
Customers who are under right say things like this: “I need a new design and I’m not really sure what I want but I’ll know it when I see it.”
This kind of client, on the one hand, represents the great opportunity. If you do the graphic design, you can steer the print work your way, right? In theory, yes. But it’s also this kind of client who can be a phenomenal over user of your time and creative energy. Back-and-forth you will go with new designs and new ideas, each one “Not quite right. Could we change this color and could we move this part over there? And…”
The under ripe customer poses a challenge, especially for new salespeople who are desperate for any work. Most experienced salespeople will tell this customer to call them when a design decision has been made. They want nothing to do with the indecisive.
Another option is to suggest the client use a crowdsourcing service such as Fiverr. Here, design projects such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, and posters are posted, allowing graphic designers from all over the world to offer their services. Each has received ratings and reviews. In the end, the customer receives not just an acceptable design but also the original files (for an additional fee) that can be sent on to the printer. This is exactly how I designed the cover of my first book, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever! Personally, I had a very favorable experience despite the fact that I hated all three designs “Danielle” offered up.
Is the under ripe customer your target market? That’s for you to decide. It’s one thing to make minor changes and quite another when the client uses the phrase “I dunno” one too many times. Suggesting a crowdsourcing service removes you from the painful design process that allows the customer to ripen. Then, you can step back in and do what you do best.