Clients are stupid?
Clients are never stupid. Stupid people do not have enough money to pay for your services. Remember that and always follow that rule if you wish to remain a successful business. Clients are simply less oriented in your field. That is exactly why they require your services.
Yet clients do often tend to ask for you to accomplish some tasks that are born to lead to a failure. Some useless features that have no value or just are, to say the truth, lame, etc. Like the GIFs of @-signs that are sparkling or spinning on the ‘contact us’ page. God, did their grandma come up with that idea? Sure it sounds repulsive to you, yet are they 100% wrong?
Nobody knows the clients target audience better than he does. Thus such a decision may be a great idea, an idea your customers’ audience will love and adore. So does it seem rational to just leave it be? Of course not. If something goes wrong you will take the blame and you will be losing your reputation since you were responsible for the project. Arguments like “I did what you told me to” will value less than a pound of sugar to a man that is lost in the desert for days. Plus extra features cost extra money. And if you save the some of the client’s dollars he will always remember that. He will be grateful, he will come back and he will bring others that will want your services. 100% profit.
Talk his language
One of the best techniques of delicately pointing out the issues in the project is speaking the client’s language. That is hard and few people can handle this technique properly. Freelancers are experiencing most difficulties in this field.
If you are trying to explain him that the feature is useless don’t say things like “It won’t work out I guess” or “I’m not too sure you have the budget for that”. Such communication will not do well to neither of you. Be empathic. Ask about how this particular feature will help the clients business or the goals he is trying to achieve. In most cases clients will agree that the feature is meaningless after a few seconds of thinking and uncomfortable silence (they actually wanted it only because it seemed cool to them).
Back up your recommendations with advice. Show them the better way. And you will gain their trust. They will see you as a professional in the field. And that is pretty much all you need to properly manage them in the future. You may also like our article "4 Solutions to Your 4 Problems with Customers".