Win Without Pitching is the business development consulting firm for ad agencies and design firms that believe there is a better way to build a marketing communication agency.
Clients from Hell?
Clients from Hell, Meet Designers from Wonderland
November 24, 2009 at 1:03 am by Blair
Last week I discovered Clients from Hell, a website that collects and publishes anonymous stories from designers about their worst client experiences. I was hooked from the first story. I now read every new entry as soon as I can get to it. While the stories are hilarious and stir up memories of my own Client from Hell experiences from my agency days (ďI had them put a coffee cup in the logo because our product is built on JavaĒ) sometimes I find myself laughing as much at the aggrieved designer.
Let me see, the client had a bizarre vision of what he thought he needed, unreasonable expectations of your role, he wasnít going to pay you anything near what you felt the work was worth, he didnít pay you a deposit in advance and you still took the work? Client from Hell, meet Designer from Wonderland.
Clients from Hell donít just become Clients from Hell a few weeks or months into the engagement. Their behavior is on display from the first interaction. These stories should serve as more reinforcement of the point that business development is The Polite Battle for Control. If you canít correct poor behavior in the buy-sell cycle, youíll never correct it once hired. Too many of the CFH stories are rooted in the designer doing exactly what the nutty client asked, regardless of the merit of the request or the obvious lacking of sanity or sophistication in the client.
Itís great fun to read these stories and laugh yourself silly. But once youíve wiped the tears from your eyes, read them again and ask yourself if the designer may have played any role in enabling the hellish experience. Buried in many of the stories are some great lessons in what designers can do better to reign in or screen out these clients.
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