Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My One and Only

When I sold services in a business-to-business environment, I adopted the philosophy that I would treat each client as if he or she were my one and only customer. That didn't mean I was available for conference calls at 2:00 a.m., nor did I do any illegal favors... but I did make sure that when I spoke with someone, I was truly focused on what his or her company needed.

By being attentive, I found that it was easier in the long run to iron out any rough patches. (And believe me -- even in the best of partnerships there are stumbling blocks.) You see, the clients really felt that we had a rapport. And we generally did.

Of course, I didn't enjoy working with all my clients. In fact, there were a handful who drove me to the brink of wanting to become a hermit on some remote island. But they never knew.

Today, I employ that same "you're my only client" philosophy when dealing with freelance writing customers.

It's not easy.

There are times when I'm tempted to say to a particularly demanding individual, "Hey, listen... I have other clients, you know!" But as long as my customers treat me with an element of respect and professionalism, I never mention the other projects on my plate in direct terms. Occasionally I'll refer to my "workload", but that's all.

Now, I realize that there are times when it makes sense to break this rule. If a client acts as though I'm lower than the dirt under his or her fingernails, I'm certainly not going to bend over backwards. I'm not a doormat and I don't suggest anyone take on that identity.

That being said, the next time you speak to a client or prospect, I encourage you to focus all your attention on his or her needs. Be incredibly and genuinely attentive and get to know him or her just a tad bit better. Even if you're only corresponding with your customers via email you can still develop a strong relationship by asking relevant questions and answering your mail within a few hours (if possible.)

In the end, your client will feel like your "one and only". And you'll both reap the benefits.


Beth said...

Woohoo, I finally found that play you told me to read. Your link didn't work, but I did the search and there it was. I left a comment there, but wanted you to know! I really enjoy your writing ... truly. A lot of BS gets thrown around the net, but I don't do that. I think you have a gift, not just a desire. 9 times out of 10 there's a lot of desire, but no gift. Sad but true.

The Quoibler said...


I'm thrilled you liked it. I think I'll have to write another one. I want to be interviewed by Death for a job. Or maybe by Satan. One or the other. Should be fun!

Thank you for the compliment! Some people like my writing, some people hate it, some people find it dull. Hey, that's the beauty of literary arts... there are as many styles as there are authors and readers.

I love the way you write, too. You're very talented, you know! I'd like to see you do more fiction... you have a terrific sense of humor!