Feeling valued inspires people to feel great and do more, so as soloists, how can we actually value our clients and suppliers? Here are some tips on how to value each other.
I can’t believe my client did this!
A few years ago I worked with a client who required stacks of website pages written. All our communication had been pleasant and productive, and we were excited to commence.
I sent an invoice for the deposit, thinking it would be paid as per normal. But you’ll never guess what happened.
Not only did he pay the invoice in full, he also added $500 extra.
Thinking it was an oversight I contacted him immediately.“It’s not a mistake,” he said. “I wanted to show you how much I value your work.”
Although surprised and grateful, I didn’t need him to deposit extra money to show how much he valued my services – I already knew. And regardless of the generous tip I was always going to pour my heart into the web copy, because I felt valued. The project was a huge success and interestingly, I wrote him additional copy that far exceeded his $500 tip; not because I felt compelled to, but because I wanted to.
3 ways suppliers and clients can value each other
If you’re new to soloism or new to hiring a soloist, you may not know how to show you value the relationship. So I have some tips! (Even though they relate to working with creative providers such as copywriters and designers, who I refer to as ‘suppliers’, they can just as easily be applied to all industries and situations.)
Also, please note, I’m not the appointed expert on soloist relationships, I’m just a fellow business owner sharing advice based on personal experience. Many of you will have your own fantastic tips and anecdotes, and I’d love you to share them in the comments section.
1. Respect each other’s ideas and expertise
Tips for suppliers
Although clients come to us for our expertise, clients are experts in their own fields and know their offerings better than we do. Their ideas and suggestions should be welcomed, considered and respected. Once we hear their ideas, we can either incorporate them or explain why a different approach may be beneficial. Magic happens when we value the amazing insight our clients bring to the table.
Tips for clients
If you’re investing in the services of an expert, it pays to respect their expertise. If you’re going to state exactly how something is supposed to look or read without hearing your supplier’s ideas and advice, you’re denying them the opportunity to provide the best result for you. Also, some creative suppliers won’t work under those circumstances, not because they’re being difficult, but because the end result could reflect poorly on both of you.
2. Respect each other’s time
Tips for both suppliers and clients
In this time-poor world we live in, you can’t expect to talk to someone immediately and lengthily, unless it’s advertised otherwise, e.g. “We’ll respond in an hour”.
In most cases you may need to leave a voicemail, schedule a time to call or wait more than a few hours for your email to be answered.
As we all know though, it’s beneficial for both parties to respond to all communication in a reasonable manner, because following up can be a hassle!
Suppliers, be sure to give your clients a timeframe so they aren’t left wondering when their work or next update is due. And clients, know that deadlines can only be met if you provide timely feedback.
3. Respect pricing
You have every right to ask questions regarding price: exactly what you’ll receive for your investment, how and when. After all, you’re about to spend your hard-earned money.
And, while you also have a right to haggle, just be aware that most suppliers can’t stand it.
Unlike new or used car dealers, suppliers don’t expect to be talked down. Most won’t work with you at a discounted rate, and some will decline working with you even if you change your mind and agree to pay the full rate.
Why? Suppliers put a dollar value on their offerings based on their experience, expertise and results. Although you may not realise it, haggling over price says, “I respect and trust your services enough to hire you, but not to pay what you’re worth. I want your full-price quality, time and results, at a reduced price.”
Can you see how this may not be well received?
I need to point out though, for me, there’s a big difference between forceful haggling and kind-hearted enquiries. I’ve worked with clients who’ve genuinely valued my service but who simply couldn’t afford it. In these instances (and when I was in a position to do so), I catered to their situation by supplying as much web copy as I could for their budget, accepting payment plans, or taking a part or full contra payment.
In the end … it’s all about respect
Valuing each other boils down to mutual respect. If you treat people the way you want to be treated you’ll have many long, happy and successful business and personal relationships.
How do you value your clients and suppliers? Have you ever felt de-valued? Share your comments below.