Client Breed #1
The Low-Tech Client
How to spot one:
Looks confused and disoriented when discussing anything high-tech, calls rather than emails, wants everything to befaxed. The Low-tech client needs to go through everything twice to get it, but will then happily take your advice.
The Low-tech client will rely solely on your sage wisdom for all things technology related. They will look to you as your technology saviour and will stroke your ego with their reverence of your knowledge and advice.
The low-tech client will need to be handheldthrough everything from setting up their email to opening up PDFs. Charge accordingly. They can also be particularly frustrating if they decide to ‘work it out themselves’. A Low-tech client’s idea of how a website should work for example is often not pretty.
How To Work With One:
The low-tech client needs to be handheld. Make sure everything technical about a job is in writing for them toreread at their leisure. This will save you a lot of time explaining things repeatedly. It’s also best to just accept that you will not be using a lot of the technology that makes our lives easier these days (email, online project management etc) and should instead budget in time for phone calls, faxes and face to face meetings.
It is very easy to start to patronize your low-tech clientunintentionally. As you can imagine, this can damage your relationship and even worse hurt their feelings. Make sure you balance the playing field by asking for their input in the areas they know about – their business. This will keep them happy stop them feeling the need to weigh in on your area of expertise – which can waste everybody’s time.
Finally if you work in technology, make sure that your Low-techclient knows how to use whatever product you give them!
Client Breed #2
The Uninterested Client
Thanks to one of our commenters for pointing out my negligence in writing ‘disinterested’ rather than ‘unintererested’ which would have been correct! It is now fixed.
How To Spot One:
The uninterested client is a strange beast – where most clients can’t wait to get involved in your work, theuninterested client just wants things done with as little effort from them as possible. You’ll spot an uninterested client on first meeting when you ask them questions about their business and are met with the minimal response. The uninterested client will rarely provide requested information or materials and will often ask you to complete tasks outside your area of expertise because they “don’t havetime”.
An uninterested client will give you a lot of creative freedom, mostly because they have no interest in being involved. Their insistence that you “take care of it” may broaden your skill set and your ability to delegate to outside contractors. You may also gain experience making it work when you don’t have the information or materials you need.
The uninterestedclient will ask you to take care of everything from copywriting (when you’re a web designer) to flyer design (when you’re a copywriter). Sadly they will often not realize that this should incur extra cost. The uninterested client sometimes marries their lack of interest with wanting things done a certain way producing a very hard to deal with client.
How To Work With One:
It is best to get intogood habits early with your uninterested client. A freelancer must be pushy with an uninterested client, so get used to calling and emailing repeatedly. A friendly and humorous tone is a great help when trying to push them along. An uninterested client generally isn’t trying to be rude and unpleasant, most of the time they’re very stressed and crying out for a little help. If you can be straight...