Tuesday, April 17, 2007

12 Breeds of Client

We all know that there are lots of different types of clients out there. If you're in this for the long haul, you eventually get to meet all of them.

Meetings run by committees are usually not my favorite. More times than not, I find that after most committee encounters I walk away with more questions than answers and most of what appear to be answers are really only cross references.

The trick, I think, is to try and find the real decision makers or gravitate towards the most interested, knowledgeable and enthusiastic few. These are usually the folks that truly appear to be interested in the meeting, and therefore the project, and usually offer the most concrete and relevant answers to questions.

Here's a quick look at one of those typical clients. I'm sure you'll recognize a few of your own.

Client Breed #9: The Decision-By-Committee Client

How To Spot One:
Usually inhabiting the world of large corporate clients, the decision-by-committee client can still be found in smaller operations where they share their decision making with a spouse, neighbor or dog. The decision-by-committee client is one who lacks a single point of authority and for which every decision must be approved by many people.

The Highs:
Since decision-by-committee clients don’t have anyone making firm decisions it is sometimes possible to just do whatever you think and sneak it through under the radar. This can easily backfire though, so be careful.

The Lows:
The decision-by-committee client at its worst is achingly slow to work with and when many people have their pet peeves you can wind up with a highly inferior product to show for the work. Decision-by-committee client almost always reduce to the lowest common denominator and if there is one person who dominates they are usually the one person you wish *didn’t* dominate.

How To Work With One:
Unfortunately decision-by-committee clients are a fact of life when it comes to working with large corporate clients and this is one reason why it is important to charge high when dealing with the big guys.

It helps to be firm and quickly identify the stronger members of the committee and target them for responses while trying to win them over by conceding lesser points and sticking to your main guns.

Check out all 12 over at Freelance Swich

That's Right,


Thanks to Jack at Freelance Swich

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