Woman wondering how a client makes a decision

On what basis are you making this decision?

This is a really valuable question.
It works for most life situations, but it works brilliantly when asked of clients.
Especially those clients to whom you have just pitched.
On what basis are you making a decision?
What is your decision-making criteria?

Let’s role play

There are a few ways this could go…

On what basis are you making this decision?
I am making the decision on the basis of budget/price/cost.

Two good, fair answers to that response.

  1. Good to know. Let’s not waste each other’s time. I could supply referees to vouch for my ability to deliver a great return on investment, but I know we are not the least expensive design supplier. Knowing that’s your criteria thank you but I decline to submit on this occasion.  OR
  2. Thank you, good to know. Let’s have a conversation to clarify the budget and deliverables. One of our strengths is the ability to work efficiently. We may be able to cut the cloth to fit.

On what basis are you making this decision?
I am making the decision on the basis of chemistry. I want to start a relationship with a designer partner.

That’s great, let me buy you a cup of coffee to discuss the project. I’d love to discuss/get your idea on a few strategies before committing them to paper … we can test our fit at the same time.

On what basis are you making this decision?
I don’t make the decision, it will be made by the committee/my boss/upstairs

Thank you, good to know.
On what basis will the committee/your boss/upstairs be making the decision?
(Refer to previous replies based on their response.)

On what basis are you making this decision?
It’s a timing issue, I am making the decision based on ability to deliver.

Thank you, good to know.
While I have the capability to meet tight deadlines, it usually comes at a cost. That old adage, price, quality and timing certainly holds true.

Meeting a tight deadline usually means putting aside scheduled, full fee-paying work and/or and hiring freelancers to meet demand. Is there additional budget available to meet the deadline?

On what basis are you making this decision?
I’m make the decision on the basis of previous work.

Great, good to know.
Let me tailor my pitch.
Are there specific projects you would like to see, or work from specific industries?
Or do you prefer to see previous solutions outside your budget and client sector to demonstrate our capabilities?

Take away

On what basis are you making that decision? is a really valuable question. If you only ask one question, ask this one.


What do you think? Got any problems/questions? As always, happy to discuss further, just email.

Carol Mackay

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About Carol Mackay

After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, I pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council I use my experience, and research, as a design mentor and coach. I help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement paid gigs with research, mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

An archive of my previous career is at mbdesign.com.au.
My current work can be viewed at designbusinesscouncil.com and designbusinessschool.com.au.

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