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Old November 4th, 2009, 03:25 PM   #16
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I just got off the phone with her. She is going with someone else.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #17
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Good riddance, I say. And lucky you...
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Old November 4th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #18
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Thank you. That's therapeutic to hear. This was one bad experience.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #19
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And a big thanks for letting us know how it all turned out. Could have easily been one to qualify for worst project ever status.

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Old November 5th, 2009, 06:30 PM   #20
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With all the red flags you posted about earlier you could sort of see this coming. In our area, many of the people work for, um, a large software company, and from Upper Management on down they all seem to apply the dictatorial, demanding, manage-through-intimidation style to all aspects of their lives. It appears you had something similar here and really, count your blessings that they didn't decide to put you through another year of hell.

Just imagine, if they were that problematic during the courtship (your bidding process), what would the marriage (you working for them) be like?

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Old November 5th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #21
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Maybe you could shoot the divorce? (grin)
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:54 AM   #22
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Yes, they're happy.

I'm starting to feel like I'm brokering the sale of a home though. I understand due diligence, but I've this potential client has cost me several hours of work and just emailed me (#13) that she wants a second *set* of demo DVDs to review. I've already given her over 30 paragraphs of references, customized and re-customized packages for her, drawn up a custom contract, uploaded specific archived content online for her, talked on the phone at length. So now that she wants to call my happy clients I'm thinking sheesh, do I cut bait? What if she calls them over and over? I'm feeling demoralized by all this. I want to say, "If you trust me, lets move forward. If not, let me refer you."
It's a blessing in disguise Dana, it would be a headache had she gone with you. I have a potential client years ago who wanted me to shoot their engagement party, edit it and show her my work before she decides if she wants to book me for their wedding. I basically charged her an arm and a leg for that engagement shoot, she never called me back.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 08:36 AM   #23
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Maybe it's because I've been doing this for nearly 30 years, Maybe it's because nearly every facility I worked for went out of business, usually due to clients (late payers, etc), but I'm very much into "not hiring the client."

If someone is pain I have no problems showing them the door.

If a client is unwilling to close the deal or at least make a reasonable counter offer, I walk away. Time is money.

If a demo real and a meeting isn't enough then I'm done.

Imagine giving a phone number of a past client to someone like that and they start pestering that person! That past happy client can get you more jobs by word of mouth than handing out their phone number to someone who may well become a nuisance. That past and formerly happy client may come to despise you.

Sorry, no one gets the phone numbers of my clients. My work speaks loudly enough. If you don't trust me there's no working relationship to be had.

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Old November 6th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #24
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Good stuff guys. Thanks.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #25
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I hate to be a contrarian and I know my views on customer service are VERY old-fashioned (ie, no matter what you think your product is, the only real product you sell is customer satisfaction - your nominal product is just a means to that end but satidfaction is the only thing you get paid for) but the bottom line is still that you are not doing the customer a favour by accepting their business, they are doing you the favour in considering you for hire.

Imagine you are hiring a sales manager for your video business and ask for references from your candidates. Are you going to look favourably on the guy that give you a page of testimonials he's quoted and attributed to "Happy Office Manager" and "Satisfied Former Employer?" Or would you feel a list of his last 5 employers with names of his supervisors and their telephone numbers to be more reliable?

We're talking a major expenditure here on the part of the prospective client and while you shouldn't violate previous client's privacy by giving out contact information without permission, there's nothing wrong with a potential client legitimately expecting to be given on request a list of 5 to 10 previous clients as references that they can call and verify what their experiences were with you straight from the horse's mouth as it were. That's not to say you have to put up with abuse from a client, but I know that if I'm about to contract with someone for several thousands of dollars worth of services, I'm going to want to talk for myself to some previous customers of the guy and learn first-hand what their experiences were.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #26
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Fair Enough. I think we all can expect today's customer to be more demanding. The toughest call is where to draw the boundary. You can be right at the point of sealing the deal, but nobody is going to tell you if you're an inch away from it or from abuse.

We got another nice potential client right after, so I'm thinking it's God's way of saying it was a good call. So many factors, but it all builds intuition.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #27
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...That's the cool thing in being an entrepreneur; when you fail, you gain valuable insight. In the corporate world when you fail, you're fired.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #28
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...you are not doing the customer a favour by accepting their business, they are doing you the favour in considering you for hire.
Steve, you are, as usual, absolutely right. I can't speak for anyone else but I never thought that the request for references was out of line, but all the hoops this potential client was making the vendor jump through were. No one is obligated to work for a toxic client who won't allow you to do the work you'll be proud of. The red flags popping up all over the place virtually guaranteed a miserable experience where no one comes out happy.
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...In the corporate world when you fail, you're fired.
Or you get promoted.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 07:50 AM   #29
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I never thought that the request for references was out of line, but all the hoops this potential client was making the vendor jump through were. No one is obligated to work for a toxic client who won't allow you to do the work you'll be proud of. The red flags popping up all over the place virtually guaranteed a miserable experience where no one comes out happy.
I agree 100% with that. Good customer services doesn't mean giving away the store or taking abuse.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #30
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Dana - or you get a huge bonus after sinking your company... and the world economy...

In the case of unique, artistic services, you MAY be doing the client a favor by agreeing to work with/for them. References are fine and dandy, but if client and vendor don't share the same artistic vision, there's no advantage there.

When hiring someone for a creative project, I'm looking for results which may not be measurable in accounting terms... I certainly expect results, but I also respect that creativity isn't always measured in the same way that you would some other relationships.

The client/vendor relationship, as with any other, is a two way street. A client can be a PITA, and not worth the trouble TOO...
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