[thelist] What would you do?

Frank framar at interlog.com
Fri Jan 5 16:22:50 CST 2001

>  So my question is (yes, I do have a question), how
>  should I approach this with my former client? Should I
>  tell him about the problems? Assume that he knows they
>  are there? Will anything I say to him just sound like
>  sour grapes? I couldn't give a crap about the other
>  company, which BTW is much bigger then mine, but I would
>  like to keep a good relationship with the client because
>  I think that might be looking for a new web design
>  company in the future :^) .

I agree with Seb. Here's some elements of the approach I think would 
be most useful.

1) Keep your business goal in  mind: What result do you want from the 
interaction? At it's most minimal, it will probably be the 
ex-client's good will (referrals and reputation). At it's best, the 
contract back at a higher profit than before.

2) At all times, remain professional. Here's the formula I use:
   Where are we?
   Where do we want to be?
   What do we need to make that happen?
   Build a plan with result dates and evidence of completion for each.

If you keep to this, and only to this, you will remain professional, 
because what you are doing in indeed keeping your profession first 
and foremost, and you are doing so skillfully.

3) Make sure you have a copy of your contract, or agreement, and 
delineate the breaches if any (this is part of the 'Where are we'. 
Stick to facts and possibilities, not feelings and should-be's.

I think that Seb's note really bears re-posting.

>>  Prepare a document.  Write up a technical (but
>>  approachable) document outlining all of these things
>>  you've noticed (including them attempts to snarf your
>>  work), and why those things are bad, and then submit it
>>  to your (ex-)client.  Try to be objective, and don't get
>>  too aggressive in it, or come across as bitter.   Try to
>>  word it in a way that shows that you are genuinely
>>  concerned about the client (which you seem to be) from a
>>  professional level, and explain how a shoddy shop like
>>  that will hurt them in the long run.   They are most
>>  likely doing the switch because the newer shop undercut
>>  what you were charging, so it's also important to point
>>  out the technical quality of your work compared to
>>  theirs, so they have more than just dollar figures to compare.

And remember: Just because they made one decision, doesn't mean they 
can't make another. Feel free to carry the aura that you are *in a 
position* to assist them. Don't try to sell them, you'll come off as 
desperate. Don't rub their nose in it, they already know their 
mistake, and feel stupid. Create a sense of 'We can help you, and 
will still respect you--for a price.' Then you get to re-negotiate 
with a greater understanding of their needs.

My long winded 2¢.


Frank Marion                      Loofah Communications
frank at loofahcom.com               http://www.loofahcom.com

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