Even Kirsty and Phil can’t. And they are location, location, location specialists. A good 18 seasons in.
I watched much of this living in London (along with Grand Designs) and sometimes I’ll watch an episode where people desperate to buy their home just don’t like anything they’re shown. And consequently don’t buy. Even when it’s the absolute best they can get right then.
Despite the specific criteria, the one on one cafe chats, the ability to read their faces and reactions in person, in the house. Despite the fact that Kirsty and Phil have a team, are experts in their field with a lifetime of experience, know the market intimately, have worked with thousands of people, are constantly on the hunt and ahead of the eight ball. Despite all of that, sometimes they still can’t get it on the mark.
And most often? It’s not their fault.
Sometimes you just cannot please people. And more specifically, sometimes you just can’t please your clients.
You can do absolutely everything possible, way beyond scope & budget, you can drive yourself mental and they’re still not happy.
It’s just part of this shindig.
You’ve got to get to a point in your business where you’re able to ‘filter’ out the majority of these people. The ones you can never please. The ones where you’re unable to reset expectations to a realistic level. The ones that are unclear and vague. The ones that are adamant they have clarity but really? Um no.
Location, location, location makes me feel sane.
There are two rather big camps splitting the creative world. Do everything the client says (no matter how crappy or bad, or what they ask), or take the creative lead, compromise, come up with better ideas and also push back when needed and strive for their business objective and integrity of the project.
I love that Kirsty often gets to a point where she sits down with her clients and lays it out.
This is your budget. This is what you want. Not everything is possible. Where are we going to focus, what are we going to trim. Even with a million pound budgets, rarely is absolutely everything ever perfect.
I also love that they go after what their clients need, rather than what their clients think they want.
I watched the latest episode today where Phil was working with a couple who had a ‘definitely do not want’ list. On that list? New house builds.
3rd option Phil gave them? A new house build.
What did they buy? The new house build.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Sometimes people have no idea what they truly want. You’ve got to try and see beyond the words and figure it out.
Some people know very clearly. You’ll hit the mark dead on, every time.
Don’t just ask what they want. Ask why they like certain things. Why that inspires them. What they want to feel. What their requirements are. What they understood. What they don’t understand. What they’re struggling with. What’s their pain point. Why do they want this? Who their customers are.
Listen closely. Strike a balance. Don’t let it strangle your skill to innovate and create.
And then position it in such a way your clients can understand why it’s what they wanted all along (or more).
In the majority of cases you’ll be able to give your clients exactly what they need so they’re over the moon with you. In a small fraction of cases it doesn’t matter what you do.
Learning to recognize the latter is just part of your business. Improve your processes. Tighten your client intake. And take away what you can from the experience.
But don’t beat yourself up.
Let it go.
Even Kirsty & Phil don’t always have it on the mark.