This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

December 9, 2010

Dealing with flaky clients

I've been doing business "on a handshake" here in Arizona for over twenty years. My business is graphic design and computer graphics software training. Whether there are more flaky people now than there were at the beginning of my career, I can't say, but there are some techniques for dealing with them. For large projects, of course, you don't want to deal with flaky clients. But for some small stuff, it can work. And in a tough economy, it's worthwhile to go to a little extra trouble to get these clients. The vast majority of my flaky clients will pay. It may take a while and I have to do a little extra, but it can be worth it. And these clients just absolutely, positively, adore me!

The first thing that you need to do is to identify flaky people. Flaky people are usually not bad people, they are usually just forgetful people, and people who have a poor sense of time management.

• Flaky people are always running late. And they are usually comfortable with this behavior. They will call you to say that they are on their way. 

• Flaky people will say say "remind me" for future appointments. And they often will use that reminder to cancel the appointment at the last minute. 

• Flaky people try to do too many things in too short a period of time. This is why they are chronically late, and are usually in a high state of stress.

You could, of course, just eliminate these flaky people from your life, and if they are really flaky they may be more trouble than they are worth. But if you think that they are worthwhile, here are some tips to help deal with them.

• Avoid appointments. What we consider flaky behavior in a lot of people makes them "right now" people. Call them when you have some open time and say, "let's do this right now!"

• Get paid as much as possible in advance. Flaky people often let money slip through their fingers. That's why they may not be able to pay you next month. Get it now. Make it clear that deposits are non-refundable. 

• "Double-book" flaky people. No, I would never make two appointments at the same time, but if you must have an appointment with a flaky person, have an alternate plan in mind for the time. This is a good time to do some non-time-sensitive work, or errands. So, you are making an appointment with your flaky person, and an appointment with yourself to go look at the new Macs at the Apple Store.

Being understanding and flexible with flaky people can make for some good clients. Trust me, these flaky people have had so many doors slammed in their face because of their behavior that they are just glad that you are answering the phone. They will be good clients, it's up to you.

If you would like to get personal on-site software training in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Dreamweaver in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, please contact me.  Yes, I will also do a training session on setting up your blog on Google Blogger! Paypal accepted, morning appointments only.

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