Labeling Emotions: Closing The Client To Architect Gap

October 15, 2023

Tyler Suomala

Founder of Growthitect

When you meet with a prospective client, there’s often a gap in understanding.

Prospects enter conversations with fears, concerns, misconceptions, and skepticism. About what? To be fair, there are a lot of factors - process, costs, timelines, feasibility, and more.

This gap can hinder communication and prevent a client from choosing to work with you.

So how can you close the gap?

Be direct and label the emotions.

Labeling is simply acknowledging emotions or concerns. It requires you to tune into the underlying feelings and apprehensions of your prospects so that you can address them directly.

And it’s very powerful. Labeling will help to:

  • Build trust: Addressing the client's emotions shows you're not just focused on the project but also their satisfaction. This strengthens trust, vital for a successful relationship.

  • Clarify misconceptions: Labeling helps you identify and tackle any misunderstandings the client might have, ensuring both of you are on the same page.

  • Facilitate open communication: When clients feel understood, they're more likely to communicate openly and collaborate with you effectively.

  • Tailor solutions: Understanding the client's concerns allows you to adjust your designs to meet their specific needs.

So how can you start labeling today? Here are the 4 simple and repeatable steps:

01 // Listen actively

Before you can label emotions, you need to genuinely listen to your prospect. Pay attention to their tone, choice of words, and body language.

For example, if a prospect says, "I've heard that building renovations can be really expensive," they might be expressing concern about the budget.

02 // Make a neutral observation

Frame your labels as neutral observations rather than direct statements. Use phrases like “It seems like…” or “It sounds like…” to neutralize your thoughts.

Instead of saying, "You're worried about the cost," you might say, "It sounds like you have some concerns about the budget."

03 // Pause and wait

After labeling the emotion, pause and give the prospect a moment to respond. For instance, after mentioning their budget concerns, wait for them to elaborate or clarify their position.

This is important - you don’t want to keep speaking. You want to give them space to respond so that you can best understand their feelings.

04 // Reinforce understanding

If the prospect agrees or provides more details, reinforce your understanding. I’ve found one of the most powerful ways to do this is with the FFFF framework.

For example, "I understand that budget can feel concerning. I’ve spoken to a lot of business owners that felt the same way. What they found is that their business grows much faster once the work is complete. How are you hoping that this project impacts your business?"


Acknowledge and address emotions to help build trust and bridge the gap of misunderstanding between you and your prospective client. In order to label client emotions:

  1. Listen actively

  2. Make a neutral observation

  3. Pause and wait

  4. Reinforce understanding

Reply with any questions!

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