The Importance of being Earnest…
I recently received an email, in which a Client expressed his appreciation this way:
This exchange gave me pause for thought…
Why would a Client think that his/their project, in this case, color consultation for the exterior of a 3 unit condo building where he is the HOA president, was not important, or as important then other projects that I, or for that matter, my colleagues might have?
We have all heard the adage “The customer is always right.” as well as “Every client is important.” But, what does that really mean?
For me it means that if I take on a Client, I make a commitment to them and to their particular project within the scope of the work we are doing together. So much of our work as artists, decorative painters, craftspeople, designers, architects and color consultants (to name a few) is collaborative. We work WITH the Client to realize their vision, and our vision of their vision. If we don’t have their contribution, commitment, buy-in, or what-have-you, that process can become difficult, stymied, or downright impossible. We may even get our head, or someone else’s, handed to us!
In other words, yes, every Client and their project should be important to us. It just so happens that the particular Client I have quoted here, falls into the category of “dream” Client. Along with his partner, he has been responsive, communicative, cooperative, intelligent, and generous with time and fee. Add to this reasonable, fun and funny, and I think you get the picture. This is a great Client, with a fun and engaging project, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and his partner.
I don’t value this Client and his project less because the Job in question is not as lucrative financially as some others. Lucrative does not only refer to the dollar amount received for a particular Job. To me, it means what I am getting out of the Job, vis-a-vis what I am putting into it. Is there positive return on all fronts: artistic gratification, compensation, appreciation, and client interactions? In essence,
must be upheld on both sides for a fruitful relationship that delivers results and satisfaction, perhaps even exceeding expectations.
I recently heard a marvelous audio interview with Wine Country painter Ann Rea, founder of Artists Who Thrive, by Carlos Castellanos of Drawn by Success. During the interview Ann brilliantly describes how she feels that she gets paid twice by those who purchase her paintings, prints, and other artwork. In money, yes, of course, but also in the appreciation of her work by her buyers and collectors, and the relationships she forms with them.
I think many of us know what she means. We need to have our work connect with others and the larger world outside ourselves to have it really mean something, outside ourselves. So that our work, (and ourselves) do not remain in shadow, or behind bars.
So yes, every Client is important, and especially those with whom we can have a great rapport, grow, and create something that is more than the sum of its parts. When we find ourselves in the path of these dream Clients, all we can be is grateful…
to grow ourselves by working closely with them, realizing their vision, and our own.
Lucrative? More like priceless!
What priceless Client experiences have made YOU grow lately?
If you feel so inspired, share them with us here. We love to hear from you. Remember, we are all growing though this thing called Life, together.