Pay half now and the rest when you have it. Sure, we can wait for the payment. Of course, we don’t mind that the scope of work has changed three times already.
Innocent statements, aren’t they? In fact, I bet that in your eyes, if you have ever said anything like that to a client, they sound as if you were the best vendor that walked on this earth.
You are being helpful. Understanding. Patient. Great, there’s no doubt about that, right? The trouble is, you are also a person that has just let someone else run his show.
The idea for this post came to me during a sales call I witnessed a couple of days ago. It wasn’t intentional, I simply overheard it in a hotel lobby. At first I thought that it is going quite well to be honest. Only after a while it struck me, no matter what the client said, the young sales guys answer was always the same, “yes”. And the client, naturally, was making more and more demands.
- We want you to work twice as fast. - Sure.
- We want you to charge us only half of your daily rate though. - No problem.
- We want the project to be delivered to our offices in a medieval cart with 25 virgins throwing rose petals right in front of it all the way. - Of course, great idea!
A result? Well, I can’t tell for sure, I wasn’t there to find out. But from my experience I know that such things usually end in the exactly same way. A sale but a lack of any profit, often even huge losses and a client that will walk all over you a few times and then walk away.
Not realising who should be pulling the strings is one of the most common mistakes in business. It is in fact quite natural to assume that it should be the client. Let’s face it, it is the clients project you are working on. It is their trust in you that give you the job in the first place. It is then quite natural that they should be in control.
In reality though, the more control you give to the client, the less profit you will make.
It’s simple. Those small promises you make will cost you money and time. You may not see it straight away but that small additional task that should take only 5 minutes will take a week. The client will make revisions, many of them. Then they might even change their mind.Or maybe they will come up with a better idea altogether. But since you agreed to include it in a project, you have no option but to do it, losing money and wasting time.
I often state that small businesses should not imitate big boys. Well, there is an exception to that rule – terms and conditions.
Big boys protect themselves from anything. It’s all in their T&C’s. Small businesses on the other hand, with their more personal approach leave so many things open that at the end no one knows what is going on and the business ends up falling prey to many of its clients.
At the same time the big boys can’t even get sued.
How to Run Your Own Show?Make rules and stick to them. If you quote a price, then that’s the price (unless you took it from nowhere, then it’s a different story) not what the clients demands. If you allow for two free revisions, then it’s two free revisions and then you start charging. If you require payment upfront, they that’s what the client has to do. Period.
Believe me, I know what I am saying here. I learned this the hard way. I have let others run my show. I ended up hating most of my clients but in reality it was me who was to blame. I let them be that way.
Clients are not evil as most of us think. But just like you, me and everyone else they put their best interest first, naturally. And the minute they realise that they can get something extra, something that they will benefit greatly from and that they can get it for free, they will take it.
But here is the thing, if you do not let that to happen, your business relationship will be much better, last longer and you will make more money.
Think about it.