Gini Dietrich

Saying No to Clients

By: Gini Dietrich | April 14, 2011 | 
92

All you people have failed me. I have not a single Facebook question to answer this week. So, instead of seeing my pretty face, you get some written something instead.

OH WAIT! I’m wrong. I just scrolled through a lot of status updates and found this from Andy Donovan. Yay Andy! You saved everyone from failure!

“Coming off the presentation this week with you, Carol Roth and Les McKeown – how does a new entrepreneur learn the delicate art of saying “no” to a client request that seems over and above what has been agreed upon? Especially when at the beginning of your career and still ensure the relationship moves forward without any hard feelings?”

But you still don’t get to see my pretty face because, well, I haven’t showered yet. So how about I do our #FollowFriday via video tomorrow?

Andy’s question is a couple of weeks old, but it still works.

This is a really hard question for me to answer because I don’t like to  say no and that’s the culture I’ve built at Arment Dietrich. I’ve noticed that when I push my team to say no to a client, they push back about really wanting to go the extra mile.

Whose fault is that? Mine.

So we’ve really begun to be very clear about expectations and priorities. Everyone is responsible for not going over budget (which is how we measure overservicing) and we are in constant communication with clients about what has been agreed upon and what they’re asking us to do.

For instance, we have one client who we all adore. So, when he asks for something, we automatically want to say yes. But we found very quickly we were overservicing, to the tune of almost double what he is paying us. We sat down with him, went through the initial marketing plan and the extra things he was asking us to do and asked him to help us prioritize. He was very open to doing that and, during our weekly meetings with him, the team reminds him of the priorities and asks if there is anything he wants to change.

It works really well because he’s constantly aware of what we’re working on, but also what the priorities are for the month and quarter.

How do you say no to clients?

Oh! And don’t forget to go to Facebook and ask a question so I have something to do next Thursday!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • KenMueller

    I’m like you. I like to please and I hate saying No. As part of that, I’ve built a culture where I’m at my client’s disposal. If they have a question they can call or email me, and I’m not necessarily going to bill them for the 10 or 15 minutes (or less) that it takes me to respond.

    But I’m also learning the “art” of saying no when a client asks me to do something I don’t think is the right thing to do. Yes, they are paying me, but I’ve drawn a number of lines in the sand that I won’t cross. Part of it for me now is trying to manage expectations up front. I TRY to make it clear what I will and will not do as part of the proposal we have agreed upon.

    So far, the only area where I’ve really had to say “No” is with prospective clients. They come to me with an idea of what they want, and while I could definitely use the business, I’m getting good at telling when it won’t work out right from the get go.

    Having said that, I would rather work at a company with a culture like yours, and have to pull back from time to time, than work for a company that seems to have “No!” as their corporate motto.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller I don’t bill for emails or phone calls, either. Or the time I spend thinking about client issues while cycling. They definitely all are overserviced, but I think that’s part of the reason we’ve maintained so many relationships for so long. I think you’re absolutely right in that the times you do have to say no are when it won’t help the client or isn’t the right thing to do.

  • NancyD68

    I always want to say “yes” to everything, and that can lead to problems. I have no problem saying “no” to someone who does not want help, or treats me or my bosses with disrespect. We actually had a meeting where a potential client was insulting to me and my boss. That meeting lasted five minutes. Done.

    It is much harder for me to set limits on what I will do to help someone before I get paid. Still working on that. My desire to be well liked can easily backfire. I have to be able to strike a balance between helping someone out and being a pushover who never bills anyone for anything. That is a hard balance for me to find.

  • jacobvar

    I seem to have the same inherent ‘overservicing’ bug. I have also noticed that these clients, just like yours are very open to prioritizing. Coincidentally my favorite overserviced customer is very often open to upselling too. Hmm! I see a pattern. Thanks for the post Gini. I’m commenting now 🙂

  • sydcon_mktg

    Well, we have had to become very strict about saying no. Our applications are custom built. We give specific quotes outlining every item we will develop. With development, many little things may creep up, even after using a fine tooth comb to quote. Some of these little issues can take hours or days and even double the cost. So our quotes specifically state that any changes to the specified quote will be charged hourly.

    So, while we don’t actually say “no” we do make it clear that there will be an increased charge.

    We do have a client that we love just like you that requires weekly stay on task meetings, as well as a phone call if we are approaching his ideal monthly budget (to let him know we are blowing past it with new items).

    Typically, we deal with more than one person on a project and a budget could easily double for every client with changes, which would definitely be over-service and bury us as well. So we decided to use very specific quotes with deliberately spelled out cost changes and we just tactfully stick to our guns. In addition to quotes we also use contracts that specify our hourly rate and that anything above and beyond quoted is a new charge. Our practice is to speak up immediately so the clients never get a bill that is over what they agreed to in initial quote.

    While we felt uncomfortable being so direct about it first, it helps the client with their budget as well as helps us not overservice every account by double!

  • Chris_Eh_Young

    This is a tough question. Most of us want to say yes to everything. We want to over deliver and wow the customer. I think that’s fine until the customer begins expecting every request, no matter how big, to get a yes answer.

    The issue is that it’s easy for a business to go broke without drawing lines. Often it’s not what you say yes to the leads to success, it’s what you can say no to.

  • Hi Gini! Feels like months since I’ve been here! I’ve been busy saying Yes to clients! 🙂

    I find that my No always comes when I’ve been asked to do something outside my scope or my comfort zone. I’m guilty of thinking I can do LOTS of stuff. It’s a bad habit that I’ve grown out of, but one I’m still mindful of. So, that’s a relatively easy No.

    The tough No comes from the ‘overservicing’ as you so eloquently refer to it. We do want to wow the client and do as much as we can. However, much like sydcon_mktg and @Chris_Eh_Young point out below, doing that too much quickly eats into any profit I’ve tried to achieve. What I’ve found are that there are some clients this happens with more than others and as much as I’d like to put it on the client and attribute it to ‘scope creep’, it is really just a case of me enjoying the Over Servicing for some clients and resenting it with others. Then the awkward No comes into play.

    What I really Love about your weekly team meeting approach and the review of the priorities with the client is that it can be a standard approach used with any client. Hello, lesmckeown , you’d be proud. I’m thinking about processes to put into place. Thank you @ginidietrich for getting me started.

  • Grrrr… this is always a tricky situation. Currently struggling with it right now with a new client that I believe represents a lot of future business. Want to be firm so giving up too much doesn’t become a pattern, don’t want to be so firm that we lose the future work.

    Business is hard.

    –Tony Gnau

  • lesmckeown

    @EricaAllison Hard not to like a good process, eh? [Wait…I’m not Caandian…] @ginidietrich I think this dovetails well with the 80/20 rule – just as 80% of profits come from 20% of clients, so also 80% of the hassle comes from 20% of the clients – and they’re rarely the same client, in my experience.

    Saying ‘no’ sometimes needs to escalate to saying ‘buh-by’. But then I kow you know that…:)

  • PeterGault

    I dig this article because it skirts the edge of something that many people may not be aware of; the physiology of words.

    It feels good, literally, to say ‘yes’. Yes, even when dealing with a negative situation, is a positive command. Saying ‘yes’ actually creates an endorphin release. It’s physically rewarding to say ‘Yes’. Plus, it’s fun to say and people like you when you say it… right?

    Likewise, it feels bad to say ‘no’. Saying now creates a physical tightening stimulus. Even the form your muscles must take around your mouth in order to form the word require a constrictive tightening. Saying ‘No’ physically feels like crap. It ain’t fun to say ‘No’.

    Around my business life, within both Topical Content and CL Graphics, I deal with the required ‘no’ responses much the same as @sydcon_mktg … letting $$ carry that as a ‘yes, but’ conversation supported by solution based activities.

    As always, Gini, great post J

  • sydcon_mktg

    @T60Productions I hear what you are saying about potential future business, as well as not wanting to start a pattern. But, we have learned the hard way that it’s harder to nip in the bud after you let it happen.

    Think about it this way, if that client does prove to represent a lot of future business, it will be a difficult conversation when you have to nip it later down the line. They will wonder why the change? They may even feel as though you strung them along and now that yo u landed them you are changing the rules.

    It’s uncomfortable, yes, but its way more uncomfortable discussing a bill a client wasn’t expecting, it could ruin your relationship.

  • @lesmckeown Love the 80/20 rule. You’re right, 80% of the hassle inevitably comes from 20% of the clients – light bulb moment.

    I’ve quickly come to the ‘buh-by’ phase with a handful of clients who just couldn’t understand ‘no’ or that is applied to them. And yes, @ginidietrich has a great process. Are you sure you’re not Canadian?

  • @sydcon_mktg Double grrrrr! You’re right. 🙂

    –Tony Gnau

  • Still not saying NO much but I did have a few situations where people would start wanting more and more without wanting to pay more. I would usually just end all business with them and not take them back. Which is funny cause most of them try to come back later.

    And it is easy to say no when someone is acting like that, lol.

  • Double push back.

    “We understand your views, but you hired us for one reason – to improve your [INSERT NEEDS HERE] and that’s why you pay us monthly.

    You can either understand why we’ve recommended the approach we have, and have actionable and measurable results to work from, or you can go with your approach. But well make it clear now that if you don’t get the results you want, and you have to spend extra on fixing that, then it’s not down to us.”

    Tough love and monetary expense often comes through.

  • a_greenwood

    Thanks for sparing us the horrendous experience of seeing you unshowered. 🙂 Good post–I have to admit I have never heard the term “overservicing” though I have certainly done it with several clients. (Okay. That sounded odd. Anyway.)

  • bitSecure

    I say “Here’s some things we CAN do for what you’re paying us”, or “Sure we can do that. Here’s how much it’s going to cost.”

  • Nick

    Okay, Gini, NO! lol

  • Nick

    Wait, I can say no to you? No! This feels great!

  • dino_dogan

    I start my relationship with clients very bluntly. So when it comes time to say no, I say it very bluntly and with a smile. They are startled by it (usually) but theres never any hard feelings. They pay me because Im suppose to know better.

    If I throw in some silly logical explanation as to why not, they are usually satisfied with that. And if they probe even further I punish them by explaining exactly why not…this usually takes over an hour and they want to blow their brains out by the time we’re done lol

  • Mywritingworld

    Every one has a different nature, and it is very hard to treat everyone with one set of rules. The best way is to know the psychology of people in general and base your relationship rules that can apply to most. Keep some stronger strategies handy in case needed. I do not like blunt replies, as I am always nice.

    Fran A

  • PattiRoseKnight

    This is something I struggle with too. I worked for 30+ years at a major PR agency and saying no in any way shape or form was not allowed. Old habits are hard to break but it is better to say no than to overservice. When we overservice we aren’t able to bill our time and that means we won’t get paid. And when we overserive one client we find outself underservicing a different client. That’s my two cents.

  • Seems to be the theme this week for me! We have a code name for it ‘SOS’ shit-out-of-scope. It can sink a ship if not controlled. 🙂

  • @Nick Someone said “No’ to Gini once. That person has not been seen since. Rumor is they are wearing cement Nike’s in the Chicago River…

  • Kinguin

    So what would be the correct way to handle this if you on “down the totem pole” of the marketing team and need to say this to the manager/director? “No” to some can come across as insubordinate.

  • @dino_dogan I’m going to piggy-back off of Dino here. I think it all starts with setting the right tone very early on in the process. As an owner of two businesses that are very, very different, this principle has been a saving grace for both.

    For example, with my web coaching company, I tell clients bluntly– I’m not here to babysit you. If you can do it yourself (whatever ‘it’ is), then you should be. This is about empowerment and pushing you out of the nest. Are we clear??

    Anyway, great topic Gini, as always, but let’s make sure we get to see that pretty face next time 😉

    Marcus

  • @DougLeavy @Nick Its why Mr. Dietrich has a spring mechanism between his neck and chin – gives the impression of nodding in agreement all the time…

  • TheFriendlyBlogger

    @TamiSmith LOL, I love this!!! 🙂

  • Nick

    She is at least 4 times stronger than me. 🙁 @DougLeavy @Nick

  • HLeichsenring

    “No” on a stand-alone basis is difficult. It is even not easy to say “no” when you explain why. But to explain why, makes it possible. Transparency is not only a must in the world of social media but also a great help in business.

    I am an business, you, my client, are in business. We both have our goals to reach at the end of the day. So let us find a way, how to make something possible that is not possible with the budget agreed on.

    Kind regards from Germany

    Hansjörg

  • Leon

    G’Day Gini,

    Your post reminded me of an event that happened decades ago. I was a bright-eyed and bushy taiked young Personnel Manager in a national retail chain. We were expanding rapidly. I was frantically busy finding Store Managers and Trainees, trying to educate managers that I was not a dumping ground for all their “people problems,” and trying to fend off all sorts of ridiculous bureaucratic demands from our Head Office in another state.

    I also had a boss who believed that each of the four managers who reported to him were at his beck and call to satisfy whatever whim, fancy, notion or even genuine priority that occurred to him whenever he had it.

    Finally I worked out that the only way to deal with his demands was to sit down with him at the beginning of each week and agree my priorities for that week. Then, when he’d burst into my office and say, “Noone, there’s a problem out at XYZ store with the new trainee. Get out there and fix it right away.” I’d smile sweetly and say; “Tom, I’m more than happy to do that. But I do have two store manager interviews this afternoon and I have to finish the report on staffing projections that the CEO wants by 9 a.m. tomorrow. Which one do you want me to drop?”

    Would you believe that after a while he stopped bursting in?

    As a consultant. I’d always sit down with the client at the start of an assignment and agree on two things: exactly what we were trying to achieve and how we’d measure success..

    Isn’t it nice to know that some things don’t change?

    Make sure you have fun

    Regards

    Leon

  • This is a delicate balancing act some times, my take aways are the transparency and communication. Lay it out there, review, remind… good stuff Gini!

    Joe

  • By the way, 3 people so far clicked like on Facebook. I couldn’t help but think:

    “Joe Hackman Likes Saying no to Clients”

    I know they changed likes but I am still hard wired to think that, unintended humor? 🙂

  • By the way, 3 people so far clicked like on Facebook. I couldn’t help but think:

    “Joe Hackman Likes Saying no to Clients”

    I know they changed likes but I am still hard wired to think that, unintended humor? 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 So true about setting limits on what you’ll do to help someone before you get paid. I feel like that’s the ultimate question with zero answer.

  • ginidietrich

    @jacobvar Love seeing you here AND on Twitter! Interesting thought on upselling. I’m going to broach that very idea in our staff meeting on Monday!

  • ginidietrich

    @sydcon_mktg I’ve always envied firms like yours that can say “if the scope changes, so does the price.” The PR industry has never worked that way (though it should) so when you introduce that kind of speak to your contract negotiations, it’s an uphill battle.

  • ginidietrich

    @Chris_Eh_Young It’s VERY easy for a business to go broke. We had a client who said, “But I don’t know why you can’t do this. You’re on retainer.” Yes, we’re on retainer to do certain things, not everything you throw at us. Oy.

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison Erica, I love that you got @lesmckeown over here AND he didn’t make fun of me!

  • ginidietrich

    @T60Productions Business IS hard!

  • ginidietrich

    @PeterGault I love what you’re introduced here something I hadn’t even considered (except in choosing the image). “Saying no physically feels like crap.’ It does make you feel guilty. Stupid society. I blame them.

  • ginidietrich

    @Brankica Are you here to make me feel guilty for not sending your cake yet?!?

    It is easy to say no when someone behaves that way. LOL! It’s also really interesting that people think they can get more from someone else than they have for you. It always makes me feel good when someone comes back saying, “We were wrong” and I think, “I know.”

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown Sure, but that’s not always the case. For instance, we were hired to do some serious research, complete a brand awareness study, and develop a marketing plan. In the plan, we created tactics to move this client’s business forward. But, once we got in there and began executing, we discovered A LOT of information they didn’t give us and we had to change course. So the discussion was less, “You hired us to do X” and more “we know we recommended X, but now that we’re in here, we really think you need Y.” They wanted both X and Y without paying more. Um. No.

  • ginidietrich

    @a_greenwood LOL! I love that the image of me not showered got you to say more than “great post.” HAHAAAHAH! You’ve really never heard overservicing? It was built into my DNA at FH. We overserviced every client. In fact, wrote off $1MM in fees one year for one client. Insane.

  • ginidietrich

    @bitSecure I don’t know why that’s so hard for us to say, but you’re absolutely right. Great phrases to use!

  • ginidietrich

    @Nick @DougLeavy Nick won’t say no to me because I bribe him with food.

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @DougLeavy @Nick Is that why the spring mechanism is there?! Hmmmm…

  • ginidietrich

    @dino_dogan Somehow this doesn’t surprise me.

  • ginidietrich

    @Marcus_Sheridan @dino_dogan Oh jeez. There is video tomorrow. I already recorded it. AFTER I showered.

  • ginidietrich

    @Mywritingworld Fran, always wise words from you! I don’t like blunt replies either, as I’m like you. And you’re absolutely right in that one size does not fit all.

  • ginidietrich

    @PattiRoseKnight And then you came here, to a culture that doesn’t know how to say no. We’re all screwed.

  • ginidietrich

    @TheFriendlyBlogger @TamiSmith I love this, too!

  • ginidietrich

    @Kinguin Hmmm…that’s a great question. Mind if I have someone on my team answer that? @MolliMegasko , how do you tell me no without coming across as subordinate?

  • ginidietrich

    @Kinguin Hmmm…that’s a great question. Mind if I have someone on my team answer that? @MolliMegasko , how do you tell me no without coming across as subordinate?

  • ginidietrich

    @HLeichsenring Hello Germany! Thanks for the nice response. I agree transparency is a must…in all aspects of business.

  • ginidietrich

    @HLeichsenring Hello Germany! Thanks for the nice response. I agree transparency is a must…in all aspects of business.

  • ginidietrich

    @Leon You’re always telling me to have fun! Fine. I’ll have fun.

    This is a really good story that I’m going to use when coaching my team. I’ll be sure to say, “Leon says…”

  • ginidietrich

    @Leon You’re always telling me to have fun! Fine. I’ll have fun.

    This is a really good story that I’m going to use when coaching my team. I’ll be sure to say, “Leon says…”

  • ginidietrich

    @hackmanj Noper. I think that’s pretty funny, too!

  • ginidietrich

    @hackmanj Noper. I think that’s pretty funny, too!

  • MolliMegasko

    @ginidietrich @Kinguin @MolliMegasko I love this question. I ever say no to Gini or even any of my co-workers. If I don’t think something will work, I try not to focus on why (as not to put their idea down) but focus more on a solution and bring different ideas into the mix. One of what I consider my strengths to be is brainstorming and this helps me keep my creative side moving. It’s always better to do this in-person (or over the phone) vs. email this way you can bring the person you’re saying “no” to into the idea session and help them still feel a part of the new solution.

  • MolliMegasko

    @ginidietrich @Kinguin I love this question. I ever say no to Gini or even any of my co-workers. If I don’t think something will work, I try not to focus on why (as not to put their idea down) but focus more on a solution and bring different ideas into the mix. One of what I consider my strengths to be is brainstorming and this helps me keep my creative side moving. It’s always better to do this in-person (or over the phone) vs. email this way you can bring the person you’re saying “no” to into the idea session and help them still feel a part of the new solution.

  • MolliMegasko

    @ginidietrich @Kinguin I love this question. I ever say no to Gini or even any of my co-workers. If I don’t think something will work, I try not to focus on why (as not to put their idea down) but focus more on a solution and bring different ideas into the mix. One of what I consider my strengths to be is brainstorming and this helps me keep my creative side moving. It’s always better to do this in-person (or over the phone) vs. email this way you can bring the person you’re saying “no” to into the idea session and help them still feel a part of the new solution.

  • It’s super easy to want to over-service and over-deliver especially when you’re first starting out. What you come to realize however is that this will start to ware you down and it doesn’t scale (at all).

    What you should be doing early on is setting clear expectations up front via a contract. A contract that specifically hi-lights deliverables and a contract that specifically hi-lights a price for billable hours for work that’s completed outside of what you’ve already outlined. So as to say, yes, I can work on these things for you at the billable rate of “x” …should I add that to your existing contract to get started?

    There’s no need to feel guilty about it. That’s sort of the point of the contract. To bring both parties to an agreement of what’s expected, how much it all costs, management a timeline, etc. I think the reason we want to over-service is because we want to keep the client happy. Keep them happy by managing those expectations, and finishing the project ahead of schedule. You don’t have to say no to everything else, but you’re within every right to charge for anything that wasn’t previously agreed upon.

    Just my two pennies 😉

  • @ginidietrich @Chris_Eh_Young Love it when my clients think that just because I’m on retainer, that equates to 24/7 all you can shove at me. No, no, no, and no. Thank you. Good retainers have clear deliverables and parameters.

  • ginidietrich

    @RicardoBueno That was more like your two dollars.

  • @ginidietrich <snort> That was funny 😛

  • ginidietrich

    @RicardoBueno LOL! This was seriously very valuable. I guess the only time this doesn’t work is when the contract or proposal changes (which happens all the time in our business). Like I said to @DannyBrown below, sometimes you get into a client’s business and, after 90 days, you realize they didn’t give you all of the information and there are things that need to be accomplished before some of the things in your contract. That’s really where we see trouble – when the clients says, “We want X and Y for the same amount.” Uh. No.

  • @ginidietrich @DannyBrown I definitely see your point. I’m speaking from a design perspective having managed dozens of web design projects in my niche (real estate). Clear expectations up-front (always). If anything changes…anything at all..I’m sorry, but those are billable hours and changes. That expectation needs to be set up front while you’re negotiating the contract. Otherwise, when you give someone slack, that gives them the impression that they can ask for a little more, than a little more and next thing you know, you’ve done 3x’s the work for less than half the pay. I’m happy to say “yes”…but I’m billing you for it.

  • @ginidietrich @DannyBrown Oh, and please excuse typos: “than” should be “then”. It’s the afternoon and I’ve missed my afternoon espresso :-/ We have a fridge full of Redbull but there’s no coffee anywhere to be found. Go figure.

  • ginidietrich

    @RicardoBueno You need a coffee fairy! karyd is in search of one.

  • ooooo you are a clever woman Gini Dietrich! @ginidietrich @Nick

  • Chris_Eh_Young

    @EricaAllison @ginidietrich If we don’t set boundaries our clients begin to think they have free reign. That’s never good.

  • @ginidietrich karydWhat I need is an espresso machine in the office!

  • ginidietrich

    @RicardoBueno karyd We have one. When I first bought it for the office (along with milk and flavorings and all that stuff), people went nuts. It was REALLY funny to watch productivity skyrocket because they were having 13 cappuccinos a day. They mellowed out after a while.

  • 3HatsComm

    @bitSecure I’ll be using those right along with @ginidietrich .. great way to put it.. and per @TamiSmith hilarious SOS.. it’d be easy enough to say “that’s a smart addition, great way to expand on the scope of the current projects..” so that’ll be this more work, than more money.

  • 3HatsComm

    @ginidietrich @DannyBrown There’s project creep and then there’s a mismatch of expectations and needs vs. wants, based upon the initial consultations, research. Were there things missing, just not considered or was information concealed from you, for what reason? Since you say it was A LOT of info, I suspect the latter and wonder. Can’t say I’ve always done it successfully, but in this scenario I agree that tough love is a smart move and that “um. NO.” probably would be my reaction. FWIW.

  • 3HatsComm

    @ginidietrich @T60Productions Don’t know whose fool idea THAT was, I expected my money-growing tree to be a water once a year and watch it grow kinda deal. WTH?

  • 3HatsComm

    Wow, reading the comments it’s at least comforting to see I am not the only one with the ‘over servicing bug.’ Some of it comes from professionalism, always wanting to do a good job, not settle for good enough. Some of it’s looking ahead to future projects. IDK.. I’ve had the ‘come to Jesus, that’s a No’ talks a few times with mix results. Right now I am trying to do what @sydcon_mktg and a few others mentioned: start it out right from the beginning. Manage those expectations better, define project creep and mostly start of with the kinda clients who ‘get it’ from the start; know any? 😉 FWIW.

  • ginidietrich

    @3HatsComm LOL! I don’t know any. Sorry. 🙂

  • Hello Aunt Gini and Lisa and the entire fabulous team over at A.D 🙂

    This particular problem – saying No – is a big one for me actually. I often think that I’ve turned pro bono. I have trouble saying no – but I’m getting much better cause I kinda got tired of my generosity (in servicing my clients) being taken advantage of.

    What makes it even more difficult is when you’re friends (IRL) with your client. I start to panic when they ask for something new and that I know I have to tell them that it’s not included in the original proposal.

    I’m so eager to do a good job that I often feel like I would be disappointing them if I didn’t do that extra “little” thing they asked for.

    I have what I call a “Proposal and Letter of Agreement” that I send my clients to sign. It includes a small note – a very detailed job description – a total price – and my terms and conditions – payment policy and cancellation policy.

    I’m not sure people read past the price part though. They usually sign it and send it back to me and tell me okay – begin. What they don’t get is that before I begin it says – 50/50 for the payment policy unless otherwise specified. I can count the projects where I’ve been payed a fee upfront to start on one hand. Sad but true.

    I have found myself writing extra sections and doing more research than what was originally agreed upon. I was shy at first. I still am at times – especially with my recurring clients. I’m learning though. I’ve grown a pair recently – and as much as it kills me to do it – I have to. I’m tired of working for free. I really am. People mistake kindness with being naive – and that’s one thing I’m not. It’s fine to be kind – but don’t let folks walk all over you – because although sometimes it’s not intentional – many times it is. A client knows exactly what they’ve asked for and when they ask for more.

    So now – I’m very clear about defining the creep but I do so with a smile :). I hate it but I do it!

    #rantover.

    Thanks for the reminder Gin.

    Happy Friday

    Cheers

  • BillyDelaney

    Smart! Do you offer him to continue and pay more, or just remind him that he is over the top of his budget?

  • JulieMarketing

    Interesting, Gini! It’s a problem I often encounter and one I often struggle with. Your solution sounds like a good one. I think sometimes people really don’t realize they have stepped over the boundaries. Sometimes the other question comes in when they don’t seem to comprehend the price. Some people are always looking for a bargain and others are honestly in financial trouble. The heart in me gets in the way at those times. I now tell myself that if I want to, I can help for free but undervaluing my services doesn’t help either of us and will make me resentful eventually. It is ok to say no.

  • JulieMarketing

    Interesting, Gini! It’s a problem I often encounter and one I often struggle with. Your solution sounds like a good one. I think sometimes people really don’t realize they have stepped over the boundaries. Sometimes the other question comes in when they don’t seem to comprehend the price. Some people are always looking for a bargain and others are honestly in financial trouble. The heart in me gets in the way at those times. I now tell myself that if I want to, I can help for free but undervaluing my services doesn’t help either of us and will make me resentful eventually. It is ok to say no.

  • JulieMarketing

    Interesting, Gini! It’s a problem I often encounter and one I often struggle with. Your solution sounds like a good one. I think sometimes people really don’t realize they have stepped over the boundaries. Sometimes the other question comes in when they don’t seem to comprehend the price. Some people are always looking for a bargain and others are honestly in financial trouble. The heart in me gets in the way at those times. I now tell myself that if I want to, I can help for free but undervaluing my services doesn’t help either of us and will make me resentful eventually. It is ok to say no.

  • JulieMarketing

    Interesting, Gini! It’s a problem I often encounter and one I often struggle with. Your solution sounds like a good one. I think sometimes people really don’t realize they have stepped over the boundaries. Sometimes the other question comes in when they don’t seem to comprehend the price. Some people are always looking for a bargain and others are honestly in financial trouble. The heart in me gets in the way at those times. I now tell myself that if I want to, I can help for free but undervaluing my services doesn’t help either of us and will make me resentful eventually. It is ok to say no.

  • ginidietrich

    @BillyDelaney It depends on the client. The one I used in the example does not want his budget to increase so he’s more than happy to prioritize. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Griddy You also need to learn how to say no to Skype calls in the middle of the night, but that’s a different topic, B.

  • BillyDelaney

    @ginidietrich @BillyDelaney that is more than good enough then thanks!

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