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Dealing with Clients

5 Ways to Fire A Client

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There are just some clients who you no longer want to work with. It could be that the client in question is difficult to work with or it could be more a matter that you’ve moved on from the type of work you’ve been doing for that client. Whether you’ve only done a little work for the client or you’ve been together a long time, it’s never easy to fire a client. Not only do you have to get past the freelancer’s natural reluctance to give up money, but you’ve got to make the break in such a way that the client will still speak positively about you to other prospective clients.

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When Elevator Speeches Don’t Work for You

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Permit me to introduce you to my mouth, the black hole from which no elevator speech can escape.

For some reason, which is probably embedded in my DNA, I’ve never been very good devising short, catchy descriptions of what I do for and how people will benefit from it. It’s to the point where, if someone asks, I’ll say, “I mangle elevator speeches!” Or words to that effect.

This is a common affliction, and one that isn’t just limited to creative freelancers. A few years ago, I was listening to a radio comedy show that is famous (or infamous) for the host’s penchant for wandering around the theater and mingling with audience members. During one broadcast, the host encountered a dentist. When asked what he did for a living, the dentist said, “I’m a smile designer.”

I could have sworn that I heard that man grimacing over the radio. He was obviously uncomfortable using such clever marketing-speak to describe his profession.

What’s worse, the host and the rest of the audience found the concept of “smile designer” to be hilariously funny. I’m willing to bet that the dentist went back to using the D-word to describe himself.

Okay, so you’re not a dentist. And you don’t play one on the radio. But you’re still going to be faced with situations when catchy self-introductions are called for. How can you make them work for you? Here are three solutions:

1.  Don’t just rely on words. Fifteen years ago, I was a member of a women’s networking group here in Tucson. I was trying to get established in the web design field, and I’d heard that attending this group’s meetings would be good for my business. Well, to make a long story short, hauling a website into a meeting just wasn’t going to work. (After all, this was 1995.) But there was another member who did packaging design. And she had a habit of bringing jigsaw puzzle boxes to the meetings so she could use them as “show and tell” pieces. Members never failed to marvel at them.

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What Clients Say vs. What They Mean

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When dealing with clients and potential clients, it’s important to understand that what they’re saying is not the same as what they mean, and how to react. Let’s look at these five examples:

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