MANAGING THE CLIENT - PART 1
Published January 1, 2010
MANAGING THE CLIENT
What’s Going On In The Client’s Head?
A friend in the voiceover business called me the other day with a dilemma about one of his clients. He was frustrated because his client was making demands that didn’t make sense to him. Specifically, his client wanted to drop the retainer agreement they had, and pay per job, which in effect made more money for him, but didn’t seem to be a prudent move for the client. My friend was concerned because he didn’t think the client was being transparent enough, and he was afraid the client wanted to bail on him.
With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few things to think about as you build client relationships:
1. Your client is out to make a living also and needs to make a profit.
Think about this: Does your client make as much per hour as you do?
I’ve had a number of clients that have made less on a job than I have. I don’t mind telling you that bothers me. That tells me that a client either really needs the work, really bid the job wrong, or really is struggling. I owe it to my client to help him/her produce the absolute best job possible so that they will gain a reputation for excellence. They deserve that.
2. Your client does not resent you (he/she did, after all, come to you with a job).
Boy, if you have that sense or attitude, there’s a problem. Usually if the client is short or difficult it’s because of the circumstances beyond your control. Make sure you don’t contribute to that problem!
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
3. Your client is accountable to someone for your work.
Years ago, I went to work for the Boasberg PR Company here in Kansas City. My direct supervisor was the late, great John Gilbert. My first week on the job was rather overwhelming, and I went to his office one day and said, “John, is there a detailed job description for me? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing."
He looked up from his desk, leaned back in his chair and said, “Your job is to make me look good.”
Your client has a boss. It may be a supervisor or it may be a customer, but your client is accountable to someone for your work. Therefore, the expectations your client has about you are colored in the light of that accountability.
It’s your job to make your client look good.
4. Your client hopes to use you again.
Many of us tend to be negative creatures. I don’t know why, but it happens. And if we have in our minds that this will probably be the only…or the last job we do for a client, we may by attitude enforce that.
The reality is that your client is hoping that this project will open the doors to new opportunities. You can bet that if your client has a good experience with you that you will be top of mind the next time he/she needs a talent similar to yours.
5. Your client needs more from you than just what he’s paying for.
I realize that’s an odd statement, but think about it. Your client doesn’t really expect more from you than he’s paying for, but he needs more.
He/she needs an advocate that believes in his/her ability to get the job done – and that’s one of the reasons they hired you. Your client needs someone who is watching out for them, to make sure they get the absolute best product from you possible; someone who believes their client deserves more than what they’re paying for.