What Makes a Great Client? (Hint: It’s Not Just How Well You Pay)

We’re headed into Monday, so I thought I’d share a bit of Monday Motivation with you all. (And say Happy Valentine’s Day to my clients!)

I was thinking today about the clients I’ve been fortunate to have over the course of my career. There have been a few with whom I didn’t get along. But, for the most part, I have deeply enjoyed the relationships I’ve built with these people.

So this one’s for the clients. If you’ve worked with me, you know I’m particular about my work style. Thank you for putting up with me, and I’m looking forward to our relationship for years to come.

Here’s why I value you.

You show me you’re human

As a rule, I tend to be chatty with my clients. I love it when you’re chatty with me, too. I don’t necessarily need to know about intimate aspects of your personal life. But I certainly don’t mind when you’re excited to tell me about the movie you watched last night.

If I’ve worked with you a while I’m probably going to recognize your moods. I can sense your excitement and I can back off if you’re a bit moody. Thanks for showing me that you’re a human, too.

Sharing a bit of humanity is part of what makes a good client.

You pay me on time

By “on time” I don’t mean that you’ll fork over cash the second I submit a deliverable. What I mean is that I won’t be sending you thirteen reminder invoices and thirty-two letters from my attorney.

You also don’t ask me to work for pennies. Or for free.

A vast majority of the clients I’ve worked with know that this is how I feed my kids. You have paid me on time and that shows a great deal of respect for what I do. Thank you.

You trust my work

Every now and then, you’re going to want to revise something I’ve written. Maybe it doesn’t exactly match your brand’s style. Or maybe I’ve thrown a few too many commas in there. I’m, good, for, that.

But you know that I know my craft and you don’t second guess me. You understand that you hired me for a reason. Maybe writing copy isn’t your strength. Or maybe you’re just too busy.

What makes you a good client is when you hand me an assignment, say, “get it done,” and trust that I know how to make you happy.

You don’t micromanage me

You, as one of my favorite clients, know that I’ll do what I say I’m going to do. I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t.

You can toss a few tasks to me on Sunday with a deadline of Wednesday. You won’t email me Monday morning asking if I’ve started yet. You don’t ask my “process” because you know that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re always happy with the result.

What makes you, client, a good client is that you don’t micromanage me.

That’s why I trust you: because you trust me.

You’re honest with me

I’m human, too. I make mistakes – sometimes big ones. And while I’ve yet to miss a deadline, I’ve most definitely turned in work that I wrote while I was under the influence of cold medicine. (For a cold. Come on.)

Now, if I’m writing under the influence, you’ll know about it ahead of time. And I’ll also always read back through and make sure it’s up to par with what I think you expect.

But if, for some reason, my work looks like Yoda wrote it, you’ll tell me.

“Um, why don’t you take a second look at this one?”

What makes you a good client is when you’re honest with me and allow me to fix my mistakes.

You’re honest with me because you expect nothing less than the best from me. And you know I expect to deliver nothing less than the best to you.

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