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Dealing with Problem Clients - WordCamp Denver 2016

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Spend time talking with a group of freelancers and the conversation will inevitably include someone’s unfortunate experience with a terrible client. Most freelancers have a story or two (or eight). While bad clients can’t be completely avoided, there are strategic steps any freelancer can take to contain the impact of a bad client.

In this presentation, Nathan will explain the how to create a system that preserves workflow and keeps problem clients in check.

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Dealing with Problem Clients - WordCamp Denver 2016

  1. 1. Nathan IngraM @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  2. 2. From Birmingham, Alabama Freelance Web Developer since 1995, all WP since 2010 iThemes Training Instructor since 2012 Business Coach for Freelance Web Developers since 2013
  3. 3. I’m not an expert. I’m a learner. My Qualification: I’ve been doing this long enough to have made all the common mistakes already.
  4. 4. Friendly Monsters Building Fences 5 Monsters You Should Know and How to Contain Them
  5. 5. Link at the End… Download Slides Full Video of this Presentation iThemes Coupon Codes Free 1-Issue Coaching Call
  6. 6. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  7. 7. In my experience, the most common reason client relationships suffer is a lack of clarity. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  8. 8. A lack of clarity often comes from assumptions. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  9. 9. Specify everything. Intake Form Scope of Work Contract @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  10. 10. Healthy relationships are based on healthy commitments. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  11. 11. From the start, your process should include opportunities for clients to commit at key points. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  12. 12. Clearly define expectations and consequences n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  13. 13. Proposal Contract Content Phase Design Phase Development Phase @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  14. 14. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – George Bernard Shaw @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  15. 15. Without regular communication, clients make assumptions, and they usually assume the worst. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  16. 16. Few things can improve the client’s experience more than clear, regular communication. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  17. 17. Become a master of the 3 sentence email. Past – Present – Future n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  18. 18. If you don’t document, you’re relying on your own memory, or worse… the client’s. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  19. 19. Implement a system that can easily capture all project communication. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  20. 20. Basecamp Teamwork Evernote Asana CRM Just Email @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  21. 21. The best system is the one you will consistently use. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  22. 22. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  23. 23. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  24. 24. …and how to contain them @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  25. 25. Monster Marks Has no idea what he wants, or he wants everything. Asks endless questions. Has no goals or budget. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  26. 26. Containment Strategy Focus on Commitment These clients are classic time-wasters @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  27. 27. Containment Strategy Use an intake form Get to price early Suggest a discovery phase or consulting agreement n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  28. 28. Monster Marks Expresses interest then disappears unexpectedly Repeatedly reschedules planned meetings Takes a long time to respond @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  29. 29. Usually well-intentioned but busy. The website is not a top priority. Tend to disappear during the project, then reappear with unreasonable demands when timing gets critical. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  30. 30. Containment Strategy Focus on Clarity Create a process to deal with disappearing clients. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  31. 31. Containment Strategy Have clear wording in your contract describing projects delayed by the client. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  32. 32. Monster Marks Sends 3am emails with a 7:30 follow-up. Insists on after-hours meetings. Works weekends and holidays and expects you to also. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  33. 33. Containment Strategy Focus on Communication Clearly communicate how and when you work n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  34. 34. Containment Strategy Set the tone in the initial meetings and how/when you follow up. Don’t violate your boundaries. Excellent candidate for a PITA surcharge. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  35. 35. Monster Marks Wants an $8000 site for $1500 Overly concerned about cost Doesn’t respect you or your work Wants to pay you in equity n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  36. 36. Containment Strategy Focus on Clarity Be sure your scope of work is crystal clear You don’t have to work with everyone @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  37. 37. Monster Marks Everything is an emergency Favorite word is NOW Worked with a previous developer who “did everything wrong” n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  38. 38. Containment Strategy Focus on Documentation System trumps drama. Keep careful records when you deal with this client @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  39. 39. n a t h a n i n g r a m . c o m
  40. 40. @ n a t h a n i n g r a m
  41. 41. Video and Slides iThemes Coupon Codes (35% & 50% discounts) Free 20-minute Coaching Call nathaningram.com/wcdenver

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