Phone: (917) 699-1284

Morning Coffee-How Do You Work Without Giving Yourself Away

I go beyond for clients. .Sometimes a client appears who is “trying” to get something for nothing, and then my red light warning detector goes up. If I feel the client is concerned about money right from the beginning I usually know it’s not a good fit, and I either tell them or I never hear from them again. I like to bend over backwards for my clients because they are doing such good things in the world and I want to give them a powerful voice to be heard. If a client becomes too critical or is always looking for freebies, I don’t believe they truly understand the value of my work, because they are too focused on money or criticism. Then I have to make a decision on whether I would precede with the client or just stop the relationship and fire the client. Most of the clients I have worked with over the last ll years have been amazing human beings doing amazing things to help make the world a better place.

I know from the beginning that a client will be challenging, but if I feel he/she is doing such amazing things in the world than I make the decision to take on the challenge. Not easy but I do it. As long as I am aware of my choices I am okay.

I raised this question in another social networking community called “Triiibes” and I wanted to share some of their responses with you.

Joel D. Canfield responded: This is a deep and long discussion, but my first two points are that this starts with the hiring process (no, not when they hire you, when you hire them to be your client.) If the hiring process is about money, this is where it goes. If it’s about creating art together, taking advantage rarely comes up. When a client’s first (or most insistent) question is “How much?” I always always tell them that their project is not a match for me.

If I start to feel like someone’s taking advantage of my good nature and deep desire to overpromise and deliver big, we get into another two subpoints:

a. First place I go is to tell myself a new story. Assume they’re just a decent person who wants a good service at a fair price. What legitimate reason do they have for feeling this or that should be included? Then, I approach them with the assumption that they’re acting in good faith. You can’t fake this, ’cause it’ll be obvious that you don’t really believe it. The alternate story-telling is the critical element. Sometimes, it makes further action (besides, just deliver!) irrelevant.

b. If they really are taking advantage, I make sure I’ve delivered what I promised, and gently but firmly fire them as a client. It’s hard to do without rancor on either side, but it’s easier to do when you catch it earlier.

Work with the right clientele, and this is rarely a problem. The only time Sue and I have fired a client (from our three businesses) is when we ignored my intuition during the ‘getting to know you’ phase, and thought about money. Joel also said that sometimes, contributing to a grander thing is worth extra effort. How much nonsense would I put up with to record with Bob Dylan? There’s no limit.

When you genuinely know why you’re doing something, most of these questions answer themselves.

Stephen O. Shannon: Timely. Just today I “fired” a potential client when she was about to hire me. After three separate hours of grilling including offering personalized samples of my work yellow flags went to red. I called two days ahead of our planned decision day and said, “Forgive me, this is not going to work.” “She said I guess I am too high maintenance and I asked too many questions. I’m an engineer you know.” High maintenance, yes. Too many questions, maybe. She wanted me to be what I am not and therein was the rub. Wow do I feel a lot better. With more than 10,000 outlier hours of experience it all welled up in me. Only two others of the more than 3,000 I have had the privilege of working with one-on-one the past 19 years hit me the same way. Decision. Sever the relationship as positively and as promptly as possible. Then watch how the universe smiles on you with more new business than expected. Sooner than later, too!

Paul Van Lil: I always knew when someone was taking profit of me. So, at that moment one can decide to let it happen or to cut back the resource. It’s really up to yourself to decide how far you can go. The problem comes when one takes profit of you and you do not realize it. Sooner or later you will be hurt very badly.

To come back to my introduction: I came to a point that it does not hurt me anymore. I came to a point that I like to give and want to do good. I know, it makes me a bad sales person! It’s something my boss does not get, but well.. it’s my life.

I have had to fire a client when I realized that it either wasn’t a good fit; we had gone past the point in the relationship where working together was no longer beneficial.

Bronwyn McConville wrote You’re lovely and you’re giving. People are attracted to you for these reasons and that’s why they reach for more … from you.
That’s great! Yes, indeed it is, but only if you’ve agreed extras with your client from the outset. Clear boundaries are very important from the outset, so when the conversation of something extra or additional arises, your agreed boundaries can be reinstated lovingly.

All of this wonderful feedback was so helpful to me personally, because many times I have to make these decisions alone and it’s great to have feedback from other folks who have been in the same position and see that many are like minded people and I don’t feel so much in a vacuum making these decisions alone.


Bookmark and Share

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 8:19 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Morning Coffee-How Do You Work Without Giving Yourself Away”

  1. Sherri Rosen’s Morning Coffee: What’s Enough ‘Free’ ? | Business Heretics Says:

    […] Morning Coffee: What’s Enough ‘Free’ ? January 27th, 2010 Participated in a nice conversation with Sherri Rosen and some other very smart people about how to balance a deep desire to give a client value, and the […]

Leave a Reply




  • Google Plus Link
  • Twitter Link