Friday, June 24, 2011

Ten "Want Fries With That?" Quandary Tips

Anyone in a service industry, (including design, photography and advertising) has wrestled with a lack of time or budget. If your aim is to provide a 4-star service, orders for happy meals may seem troublesome. But seeing these moments as not only a time to facilitate their immediate needs, but as an opportunity to build a relationship for the future may be the key to turning these situations around.

Realizing I am in no way an expert in such matters, here are ten tips that I've found have helped me deal with the quandary:

1) Turn up the hearing aid. Take the time to listen. Then ask questions. Get the big picture, understand the situation and validate their needs.

2) Show them nirvana. Showing them examples of similar work you have done in the past for others can put a positive picture in their minds. Letting them know how these came to be will give them clues to process.

3) Walk the giving talk. Explain you are there to help. And prove it. Do something extra. Go out of your way in some small way. See it as an investment in the future.

4) Don't poo-poo the messenger. Understand that the person you are talking to has pressures and may be following requests from higher-ups. Provide them the ammunition they need to explain the process to their superiors.

5) Practice comfy talk. People relate most comfortably in different ways and in different circumstances. Many people are email folks. Others prefer the phone. Others like in-person meetings. Find out and adapt your methods of communication.

6) Take a break... and relate. Communicating with folks in a friendly manner, perhaps even (shudder) having a laugh, can lead to informal information that can be valuable in the long term and will aid in the relationship-building process.

7) Flogging a less-than-alive horse? Some situations will not, nor will ever be, conducive to the quality experience you are trying to provide. Some you will never be able to help. Know when to drop the club.

8) Don't hang up – forward the call. If you eventually find that a client is never going to be a fit, offer them a referral. Provide them with email addresses, make introductions and leave the door open. You never know...

9) Address for success. Speak with respect and as if they were the most important client in the world. Because they are.

And finally,

10) Follow up, but don't stalk. Make sure whatever work you provide is well received. Don't bug, or press for new business, but let them know you are looking forward to working with them again.

Hope this helps!


  1. I have to admit that it's never occurred to me to send an irritating client to another artist. If I did, I'm pretty sure it would be to an irritating artist -- which might actually be the best for everyone involved now that I'm thinking about it.

    Love your post about the chalk people! I've seen some evidence of that civilization too :)

  2. They both may thank you for it Linda! haha. And I thank you for your astute observation.:)