One of the people I mentor was having a very, very hard time lately with a client recently. And I mean a VERY hard time.
A client was calling them on their phone night and day and on weekends about every single little thing that the client thought was wrong with their ad – and they wanted it fixed straight away and they didn’t want to be charged for any of the ads that had run before up until that point or for any production on their revised spot.
You can imagine how much of a nightmare a client like this is for any Copywriter, sales person and the person in traffic putting the ads into an on-air schedule.
So I sat them down and told them something that I thought was obvious – later they said that it was the best piece of advice ever… so here you go:
“DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!”
It’s not YOUR fault that THE client is difficult.
The problem is NOT with your talent as a copywriter, it’s with your misfortune to have chanced upon an impossible business owner. Most of the time this is simply because the client is NOT educated as to how radio works – more on this below.
No matter how much a client would like you to make their radio copy ‘sing and dance and solve all of my problems’, it just won’t!
No matter what you do, how talented you are, if you have won awards or not or you are an award winning Copywriter – they won’t care.
So what do you do?
- Don’t let what they say and think dent your confidence. You’re not alone! We have all have had clients like this at one point or another.
- Try to finish this campaign as soon as you can and when it is done – set new boundaries with the sales rep, the client and your management. I even went so far as to change my phone number to stop clients calling me.
- Develop a set of steps that direct the client as to the problems caused by ad copy changes – from costs to delays to getting the ads on-air – I have one client who cannot have ANY ads on air until they have been signed off on by himself AND his wife because they cannot agree on anything – so we don’t record a single bit of audio until they BOTH agree on the script. Another is told at every step of the way, about how much those changes are going to cost – with a new production charge every single time they change an ad after it has been produced.
- Make it clear that any campaign is only going to be successful if they listen to the person who knows the medium – you are the expert, you know how radio works and you know what won’t work too.
- If they refuse to accept any of the above – then suggest that they use a freelance writer or production company to get their ads made as you can no longer service them. Be blunt about it if you have to. But make it clear that they are one client and you are writing ads for XXX number of other clients.
Remember not to take what they say personally – you are the professional – YOU are the expert in your field.
I also suggested the my young mentee watch the below TED X talk…
You might need to spend a little time educating your clients as to how things work at your station – from deadlines through to script approvals – turn around times, production costs and acceptable contact points.
I have done this myself through a series of emails which walk a new client through how we do things, and then these get re-sent through 6 months later, and then one year later to keep them in the loop in case any changes have occurred – if you would like to see these – then let me know below in the comments and I will include them in a future post so you can copy and paste them into your email chain (and modify them to your circumstances).