5 Reasons Why Your Design Client Didn’t Hire You

Why didn’t the client hire me? Is perhaps one of the most common question freelance designers and even agencies wonder about.

And a lack of understanding of this is the most common reason freelancers quit. Not knowing WHY makes it basically impossible to fix things and thus the dwindling spiral of hopelessness and “maybe I am not good enough” and imposter syndrome takes over.

In this article we will discuss the 5 most common reasons WHY clients won’t hire you and what to do about each.

An inevitable aspect of being a freelancer is not getting hired to perform a job you hoped for and It’s not always clear why you weren’t able to secure that client even when you felt your experience and skills perfectly aligned with what they needed.

Now this is assuming they already reached out to you, and you already had a discovery call, or exchange of e-mails and they either told you they went somewhere else or what is most common, they vanished without a trace… here are the 5 most common reasons clients won’t hire you and what to do about it next time.

1. You were under-prepared

The first impression is everything. And more common than you even might think, freelancers treat each client interview as a cold call or they find online scripts that apparently work very well and they don’t. In fact, once a client has reached out to you or has shown some form of interest, the first thing you have to do, even before you answer that e-mail or get on a call is to RESEARCH their company, their industry, understand what they want, what potential problems they might have that they could be trying to resolve by hiring you to do their designs and what bothers them.

You need to understand as much about this client as you can. Because then you will be able to communicate the right things and bring VALUE to the table.

2. Budget

No matter how amazing you are, budget has a lot to do with whether clients hire you or not. Sometimes you will be out of their league in pricing, and that’s okay. Not every client is worth your time.

But being “cheaper” is also not the way to win clients. In fact, the way you price yourself will tell a lot to the client what to expect from you. And if your client values quality, he won’t go the “cheaper route”.

But you have to be on the same page regarding the budget. Always try to be the first person to share your estimated cost of the project. And from there you can get a sense if this is in their range or not. Be willing to negotiate your price, but not too much.

To learn more about how to price yourself higher to attract more valuable clients, you can check out this video here.

3. Trust

Trust is everything when it comes down to the final decision from the client to decide who to hire. Who do I trust the most? But trust is made out of many different things. One of which is professionalism. Things like: being on time for a meeting, being respectful but not emotionless. Being excited about working with the client but not over the top to the point that it feels fake.

And in the end, the final question the client asks himself is: will this designer get me the result I need?

Having examples of similar past projects, having testimonials and case studies and even social proof is a great way to create trust.

If the client is hiring you for a logo design, can you show all the other companies you have worked for? Do you have testimonials or something to show that whoever you worked for is happy with what they received?

4. Expertise

Do you have the right skills to do what the client wants?, are you familiar with his type of business or industry?

A lot of the times, clients go with other creatives because they show they have more expertise in what they were trying to achieve: either, their portfolio showed it or they were able to convince the client in the interview about their experience.

Because I have an exact expertise in an exact niche and don’t talk about things I can’t do, I never have a problem with this point. I have plenty of testimonials, reputation in the industry, years of experience in working with the niche and my website and messaging speaks to my ideal client but somehow there are still designers who don’t understand the point of niching down.

My advice to you, be a specialist.

5. The project was cancelled

That’s right, cancelled. You spent day after day trying to chase this one client who was so excited to work with you and wanted to start in a few weeks just to never hear from him again.

Well my friend, it was very likely cancelled or the client changed his priorities. One time, I had a client who I had on my waiting list to do a big job, and when I say big I mean BIG: a multiple 5 figure job.

He was so certain that he would start at the beginning of April and I literally pushed away other clients at the end of March as I wanted of course to work on this project and when the date arrived the client disappeared and left me in the middle of nowhere. So when I realized this guy had basically change his mind about doing this large project I had to rapidly start to build myself again.

The moral of this story is: just because the client says he wants to do it, doesn’t mean he will. Get that down payment in ASAP to show the commitment. Lot’s of things can happen from the time they agree to do work with you to the point they start, especially when he has other business partners involved in the decisions.

And there you go, the 5 most common reasons clients won’t hire you.

And here is my final advice, don’t dwell too much on any client that ghosts you or decides to go in a different direction. Be prepared with the advice I gave earlier to not make these common mistakes and if a client doesn’t hire you, then just do more actions to land more leads. It is the scarcity that makes us feel desperate and what sometimes makes us make mistakes.

Looking for more design clients?

This free guide can help you with tactics to get design clients. 


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