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Re: Clients not paying for work | A different solution.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
1 of 30

Hello,

Clients not paying for work: I have seen many value-add comments and commiserations on this forum. I will provide a different solution.

Train one's self in the tactics and strategies.  Google "The New Strategic Selling".  It is the bible, by parable, to those of us hailing from the professional sales sector.  The book was first published in 1988, it has stood the test of time for 30 years as the finest thought capital in the sector of learning.

Pages 82 to 114, in particular, discuss sales tactics of great importance.  There are other sections specifically related to qualifying clients.  Since a client who will not pay for work is by nature, a client who is not qualified to work with, then that means, the client was not correctly qualified as such.

In professional sales, as a co-body of expertise to any delivery expertise: poor client behavior is not attributed to the client.  It is attributed to the sales person as their personal failure.  Their personal failure.  And since we are all sales people first -- to win our work.  By proxy, clients who do not pay for their work are resultant from our short comings, not ours.

 

I relate this, so that those who choose to examine themselves, not react to this email messaging with rancor or ire, will head to Amazon, buy the book. Read it. Read it again.  Memorize it.  Practice its best practices. 

I have read the book. Read it again, and again, and again -- as I was trained in MH tactics in 1994-95.  25 years.  Perhaps.  Perhaps.  In 68 or so projects.  Those practices are the reason why I have never had a client 'not pay me'.  Never. Have I had a client not pay me.

You now know the finest body of knowledge of selling professionally.  Miller Heiman, The New Strategic Selling (Or its original copy, Strategic Selling works just as well).   30 years of history, expertise and best practices.  One Amazon click and 3 hours of reading away.

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
2 of 30

John B wrote:

In professional sales, as a co-body of expertise to any delivery expertise: poor client behavior is not attributed to the client.  It is attributed to the sales person as their personal failure.  Their personal failure. 


I can't disagree more. It is certainly the freelancer's duty to please a client to the best of their ability and to a reasonable degree. However, your statement ignores a very basic axiom - crappy people exist. There will always be terrible clients, terrible people, cheapskates, malicious and toxic people who are looking to bring you down, and of course, people with mental disorders.

The mindset you're seeming to propagate is also quite discouraging. If a freelancer has a bad client experience and doesn't get paid, you're suggesting they should blame themselves? How is delegating blame and calling oneself a failure productive in any way? A freelancer should study what happened and learn from the shortcomings that manifested during the interaction. It's a process of learning and growth - not one of self-hatred. Not to mention the fact that most contract interactions that result in non-payment in the career of a reasonable, high-quality and productive freelancer will be the result of... a crappy client.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
3 of 30

I can provide one response as it is real time and valuable.

 

Let me use a parable.  If one achieves the result of getting an ice cream cone with two scoops.  And within minutes, before the first bite returned the sweet taste:  the ice cream cone has its top scoop fall off. 

- A poor cone was purchased

- Or the cone was not handled correctly. 

I expose the theory:  get the right cone and hold it correctly.  Blaming the cone for its failure means, we have let the cone control us.

That is enough in argumentative dialog, now.

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
4 of 30

I expose the theory:  get the right cone and hold it correctly.  Blaming the cone for its failure means, we have let the cone control us.

 

I'm not quite sure I agree with the validity of your analogy, but I'll roll with it. The cone here is the client. You're saying that one should get "the right cone". Does that mean "wrong cones" exist? Which goes against your original proposition (that "the freelancer is always the one to be blamed"). You're contradicting yourself.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
5 of 30

[Quick note on responses]
I do not set the *get email regarding responses*.  This is done for a reason, and not one of negative nature.  I have time to leave perspectives, but do not have time to participate in the downstream blog.  That particpation is not required though hoped for. Acknowledged.

I state that, so any who pose questions, will not have a direct response: this is not neglect.  My delivery queue is 110% full and 100% full in 1:1 mentorship.  That is fact, not boasting.  Thus said to explain this.  I have time to leave perspectives that share knowledge, but that comes at the cost of not being able to respond to thread questions that might reside in the threads-to-come.  I find this disappointing but must make sure it is known: that is not neglect of others willfully.

The New Strategic Selling: Page 392 will provide information assist in positioning deals to avoid no-pays. Perhaps it will help you.  Thank you for your time and polite responses, in advance.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
6 of 30

Now to agree:  some clients are -- I will avoid the crude word used -- I chose the word 'Not viable as a client'.


Those conditions can occur.  However, as I related -- this is fact to state as supportive of dialog, and only that.  I know that is possible to pick NN clients in a row and not have the ice cream scoop fall off before I finish the entire experience. 

So perhaps my ending note is one of encouragement.  I am nothing special.  I have not great magic wand, I have no special designation, I have not overly-developed delivery skills in my category. So I state for those who wish to have an objective that is demonstrated as achievable.  It is possible to, apparently, have a N-year run, across NN projects without one no-pay.  Since I can do it, I am exactly sure anyone on this platform of quality and customer care can achieve this.  Anyone.

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
7 of 30

Since I can do it, I am exactly sure anyone on this platform of quality and customer care can achieve this.  Anyone.

 

Why is your profile private?

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
8 of 30

Let me restate the analogy.

The sales person sells the cone to a client.  We are responsible for the client consuming the cone and getting paid for it.  Perhaps the client is clumsy, does not wish to pay for the cone, decides the top scoop is not to their liking, let it melt before it is consumed.  Then come back and refuse to pay for the product.  The product is our services.  The cone is our delivery.

Driving this to pendantic, by possible assumption, but done to respond to the specific analogy.

If I personally hand a cone I had specifically made for the client and they refust to pay for it.  No, I will not blame the client.  I will blame myself.  I built a cone that fell apart or picked a client who could not consume it responsibly.  Either way, the problem is mine.  Bad cone or bad choice of client.

The book helps with both.  And it possible to achieve zero drops, zero no-pays.  I know this.  I ask no one to assume I am super special anyway.  Perhaps I just do it differently and perhaps that way works and perhaps there is a reason I know to do it that way.  Perhaps. 

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
9 of 30

Because I have not figured out how to set it public.   How do I set it public.  I will look around and see why.

varungs
Community Guru
Varun G Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
10 of 30

If I personally hand a cone I had specifically made for the client and they refust to pay for it.  No, I will not blame the client.  I will blame myself.  I built a cone that fell apart or picked a client who could not consume it responsibly.

 

Let me get this straight - you reasonably expect yourself to be able to ascertain whether or not a potential client is able to hold an ice cream cone correctly before the transaction itself even happens? People in real life usually don't have skills like that.

We set a baseline expectation ("the average human being is capable of holding an ice cream cone") and build our business practices around that assumption. There are outliers, of course ("don't sell ice cream to toddlers or those with clear mental defects") but they usually aren't something we have to think about. Now, if a perfectly normal-looking person (ie. an innocent client who seems nice at the onset) purchases an ice cream cone and demands a refund because they are unable to hold it (ie. a client making unreasonable demands because of their own incompetence), do you really think the seller should blame themselves for that? Once again - a toxic and defeatist mindset that serves no real purpose.

Please stop shilling this book, by the way. You're doing more harm than good to its sales.

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