Part 8: What makes me a good client? Does that matter?
There’s an old wise saying that says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These are wise words whether you apply it to business or life in general.
Here are a few things that come to mind that makes a good client:
1. Be prepared: As we discussed in Part 5, the more specific you can be with the scope of the project, the more accurate we can be with the estimated cost. This includes client expectations. Do they want this project to look better than anything they’ve seen before or do they need it to be down and dirty? We know you may not have all the specifics every time, and in those cases, we can give you a “Ballpark” cost. When you find out more details, let us re-estimate.
2. Be honest: If you’re required to get three estimates and you have a good idea they want to work with someone other than us, tell us. We will be happy to get you an estimate, but most likely won’t spend as much time putting it together. On the flip side let us know when we have a good chance getting the project. Be honest about the budget. I don’t know any company or agency that doesn’t have a ballpark idea what they want to spend on a project. I’m sure there are a few, but that get’s back to being prepared. Let me offer an example. Who goes to the grocery store with $50.00 in their pocket and loads up two carts full of groceries? Chances are you know that $50.00 isn’t going to do the trick. We understand if you have a policy of not giving out an exact number, so give us a ballpark. “I think we need to be between $5000.00 and $10,000.00”. Knowing this information could allow us to give you a couple of options or determine if we can do the project at all, as described in your brief.
3. Think of us as part of the team: By nature, we are problem solvers and communicators. The earlier and more we can be involved with your marketing team, the quicker and better we can help you be a winner in your client’s eyes. 99.9% of the vendors I know, want you and your clients (company) to be successful. We’re not the enemy you need to beat-up and defeat. We’re part of the team that’s here to help you succeed.
4. Realize this is a business: Estimates, Contracts, Terms, and Conditions, Service Agreements, etc. are all important. Every word and sentence is important and has legal ramifications. These legal documents aren’t for when everything is going well, they are for when things get unsure, there are unexpected changes, or there’s a misunderstanding. Most of these documents are boilerplate and can have very prejudicial clauses in them. Things like, “Work for Hire” (If you don’t know what it means, google it.), things like, we require you to carry 8 million dollars in liability insurance for us to work at your studio. These types of conditions are non-starters and will need to be negotiated out or compensated for in the contract. Legal negotiations happen all the time and are part of the process.
5. Help us help you: We know for the most part budgets are tighter than ever. We know you’re overworked and underpaid, so let us take some of that burden off your shoulders. We are professionals. We have more than likely worked on a project similar to yours. If you let us, we can bring a lot to the table and make the project run smoothly. We are problem solvers and our goal is to help you look awesome to your client. On the flip side, we can learn a lot from your perspective also. It’s always a two-way street. Realizing everyone is human is another key component. For example, I may have had a best friend tell me they have incurable cancer the night before the shoot. You may have had a child throw a mind-blowing temper tantrum before you arrived at the project. If we all communicate we’re having a not so stellar day, you’ll be surprised how everyone will rally to the need and make a bad start to the day turn around.
6. Last but not least, does it matter? Only if you want to get the best possible work from your vendor. Only if you want to enjoy life, even while working. If not, ignore our suggestions.