How to win clients and master your design reviews

Clients are tough. They have a vision in their head that they struggle to share. They don’t really review your designs. They ask for view after view of your work until they can see the exact detail they need. Then, they send you changes which make you backtrack on your progress or even miss a deadline.

Be number one with your clients by streamlining the review process

Situations like these make client relationships seem like a chore. Reviews with your client should be smooth, frequent, and a source of inspiration for you to get started on the next version. How can you engage your clients and get them excited about your fantastic work?

Follow these Do’s and Don’ts to get your clients on board with the design process, so that they love the end product you create.

These don’ts will cost you time, money, and reputation

1. Don’t wait too long to set expectations and requirements.
Identify your client’s needs as early as possible. Let them describe their problems to you in your first meeting. Finding out about a requirement after you’ve completed a design is a waste of resources.

2. Don’t waste time converting files from your native file version.
Which CAD system does your client use, if any? Online CAD viewers that support your native file format reduce the number of files to manage and are great for presenting your work.

3. Don’t lose valuable comments in long email threads.
It is easy to miss feedback buried in email. Keep your comments and notes with the CAD files in an online CAD collaboration tool, so that all the information you need to design is in one place.

4. Don’t get stuck in a 2D, screenshot rut.
A PowerPoint full of screenshots is boring. Your design reviews should let the client spin, explode, and connect with your work. More interaction also means they have all the information at their fingertips. No more back and forth requesting different 2D views.

5. Don’t rely on data storage solutions that aren’t catered to you.
Online storage is a good way to increase security and organization. With so many options out there, be sure to pick one that is built for sharing CAD. It will save you from paying for multiple online tools.

These do’s will impress and engage your clients

1. Do show clients your work early and often.
Keep your design review process online. Your clients won’t have to download software to stay up-to-date. An online collaboration tool will let them know automatically when you have a new version ready for them and speeds up the iteration cycle.

2. Do keep feedback and versions protected and organized.
If you need to revert to a previous version, you need to be able to trust your online file sharing system. Make sure your solution gives you automatic version control. Keep your comments organized, too, by storing markup and comments with their CAD files.

To make sure my designs look great when sharing them with clients, I pay close attention to the organization and structure of all components. This is more important than you may think. So, first things first, renaming your features will allow others to see how your model was put together and what is what. Proper file naming will help clients open the correct part at the right time, instead of fumbling with anonymous files.
-GrabCADr Jared on project organization.

3. Do set clear project milestones.
Be clear about what you’ve completed so far and what you plan to do next. It is easy for something to get overlooked. Clients will appreciate that you’re organized and will know that you’re listening to their feedback.

4. Do present your work in its full, 3D glory.
An online CAD viewer will let your client spin, see every detail, and fall in love with your design. Screenshots are purely functional and do not do your work justice. Save them for client feedback and comments, not presentation.

5. Do give your work context.
A bike frame doesn’t look as good without its accessories. Include non-essential parts for better renderings and to present your design in real world scenarios. 3D model libraries let you use existing parts, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

We know it is important to keep clients happy. We built GrabCAD Workbench because it was hard for our Community members to manage all of the tools they needed to run productive design reviews. Now, they have all the tools they need to succeed in one place.

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