I wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day. Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.
Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You
- Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
- Establish Boundaries from the Get–Go. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
- Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.
On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.
My clients are from all walks of life. They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.
Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.