When a Client Pushes

Last Updated Oct 20, 2008 9:46 PM EDT

In a recent discussion with Mark, a designer friend, he told me he was on the verge of losing it with a client. This is rarely a smart move.

The reason for Mark's wrath was he was being pushed to discount his services. Sound familiar?

In a competitive market, prospective customers often attempt to get a reduction in fees, while ignoring what's actually involved in delivering the work. They focus instead on trying to get extra value at our expense.

If we're not clear, consistent and professional in how we respond to briefs and requests, we can leave ourselves open to such treatment, but this was not the case with Mark.

He'd done everything properly, had quoted very reasonably and yet still found himself drawn down a dark alley to get roughed up. Metaphorically speaking.

He handled the request for discount admirably, responding with suggestions of how the job could be amended to fit the "new" budget.

Unfairly, the client pushed again.

Mark was ready to let rip and had drafted an email brimming with words like "offended" and "disrespectful". Fortunately he ran it by me first.

Showing our emotions at this critical stage of a project does little to foster a successful, ongoing working relationship. We need to stay calm, stand our ground and not sink to our client's level.

After talking it over, Mark realised he didn't need to send the venomous email. He simply needed to stand his ground.

Happily, he won the project and while he may choose to share his feelings sometime in the future (when the relationship can take it), for now he can get on with the work and send out a nice big invoice.

Have you lost it lately and regretted it? Maybe you've lost it and loved it. Post a comment and let's hear it.

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), the Australian online community for solo business owners.