Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saying bah-bye to a client

What to do when a client fires you?  It's devastating at first. After you've bent over backwards, dealing with the client's endless second guessing of every idea, design and recommendation for fundraising, the client decides you are not working fast enough, paying him enough attention, taking him seriously, raising enough money, or just plain not eager enough about his campaign, and calls it quits.

Never mind that you explained endlessly websites don't come out of the blue; he has to supply at least the draft of content and must be responsive to your comments.  He's the client and he knows best. This is especially egregious with clients who've run before whether they've won or lost. They just know it all, and you are there to follow out their predetermined plan.

What do you mean, you need a new set of photos of the client interacting with locals, in various locations and situations? His mom's/wife's/brother's photos from last year's barbecue are great, and what about the one of him beaming next to the Governor, the one where the governor is gazing off in the distance, and the client wears a goofy smile, and looks downright sycophantic?

He calls, says I'm very sorry, but I need someone who can get the job done the right way. I don't know why you can't do it. You have a good reputation, so maybe it's me (but he doesn't mean it).

OK, you say, having decided this campaign cannot be salvaged. We'll call it even and keep our good relationship intact.  Perhaps you were friends before all this. It happens.  Smile and take it.  Just hope he doesn't ask for his retainer back.  And remember you have done a good job for him, one that a new team can step into and maybe salvage the race. Or not.

You wait with trepidation to see what he will do and how he will spin this falling out.  Spin first.  Like a divorcing couple, you just had irreconcilable differences, but you are still friends and wish him the best, as you scout out the next client, vowing to do a better job of vetting this time.