[thelist] how do you manage/respond?

Todd Richards todd at promisingsites.com
Sun May 31 15:42:31 CDT 2009

I think you missed my point.  I don't go around tell each of my clients that
they are one of many.  Reminding them of deadlines that they have missed
once or twice before is like telling a kid he can't have a cookie before
dinner.  It just doesn't register.  But they do understand having to wait on
me, and somehow seem to "figure out" what content they promised me so I can
get their stuff done.

What's the difference between that, and telling them that you can't start
their project until "date x"?  That obviously means you have other
obligations.  Clients aren't stupid, and any decent client will know they
aren't your only one, and probably HOPE that they aren't your only one.  On
the other hand, my wife would HOPE that she is my only wife.  Two totally
different things.

What if you want to hire someone to paint your house, and they came out and
started to do prep work while you pick out paint.  Yes, when they are ready
to paint, I still haven't picked out the paint.  Do they say "tomorrow is
your deadline to get your paint picked out"?  No, they say "if you can't get
your paint picked out by tomorrow, we are going to have to postpone painting
your house for two weeks because of our schedule."  I'm not shocked,
thinking that I'm their only client.  I realize my house isn't the only one
that they have - and am OK with that because they've done a great job for
their other clients.  So I get what they need so they can get started, or
else I have to wait.  They don't keep pushing back the deadline and putting
off the other houses they have scheduled.  Perhaps if they had plenty of
crews to paint, they could be more flexible.  

And I think you're wrong in that clients don't know what content is or try
to play stupid.  In the planning stages, I explain that my job is to advise,
design and develop the site, and "your job is to get me your content - you
know, the stuff that goes on the pages."  If they CAN'T figure that out,
then you probably need to rethink the client.

My clients can't be my "only" clients 24/7/365, unless they want to put me
on their payroll, which I'm sure they don't.  My clients typically call me
and say "I know you're probably busy but as soon as you have time..." or "I
know this is last minute so as soon as you can get to it..."  And when I do
squeeze them in they are even more appreciative because they KNOW they
aren't my only client.  And they refer me to others.  I'm not a huge firm
with lots of people working for me.  It's just me, so I'm sorry if I have to
be straight forward with them at times.


-----Original Message-----
From: steven streight [mailto:vaspers at inbox.com] 
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 11:14 AM
To: todd at promisingsites.com; thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: Re: [thelist] how do you manage/respond?

Many clients have no clue what "content" is, or pretend to be dumb. 

But I think it's wrong to tell a client that you have other clients, other
projects that you need to work on. They know that, but hate hearing it. Each
client wants to feel like The Only Client.

It's like singles dating, "Hey babe I can't see you next Friday, I'm dating
some other gal that night."

Remind them of their own deadlines, but not that you have other clients.


I will still
try to deliver sooner than that, but I want them to know that the world
doesn't revolve around them (even though some months it might!), yet when I
deliver I want them to be able to tell others that I "really take care of
them" - which many have done (and why most of my business has come from word
of mouth).

When I've been waiting on content in the past (or any action that the client
has been dragging their feet on), or THINK that I may end up waiting, one of
the things that's worked well for me is a quick note to let them know that
there are other projects that I have in the pipeline that people are waiting
on, but since I put you (client) first, I want to give you all my attention
while I can.  If this timeframe isn't going to work for you, then we need to
settle on what is done thus far and figure out when it's convenient for both
of us to get back to work to wrap this up.  In the meantime, I will go ahead
with my next project.  It's amazing how quick they can suddenly make time
for you.


Steven E. Streight 

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