Here at WildFlower PR & Company, we have quite a number of clients which we manage, and we need them just as much as they need us. If we didn’t have any clients, our work here would be for nothing.
Not all our clients are difficult, but in all honesty, the perfect client is rare, though not extinct. This article focuses on seven personality types of clients who aren’t so perfect because of course, no two persons are the same.
1) The “Word-Breaker”
“Promises are made to be broken”, says the word-breaker. Word-breaking clients remind us just how important it is to write a contract prior to commencing a project. He expects you to honor your end but has no intention of fulfilling his own commitments. He is always right in his own eyes and works hard to keep the upper hand. Be careful when dealing with the word-breaker because when something goes wrong, you will be the target in his firing range, and he will not hesitate to shoot you dead.
2) The “Garbage Collector”
Less is not more—at least, not in the world of the garbage collector. As PR professionals, we always hope that our clients have an idea of what they want, but the garbage collector goes to the extreme; prior to approaching you with his project, he has done plenty of research and assembled all of the ideas that he likes. This kind of person goes to a buffet and puts a little of everything on his plate. He wants to infuse everything possible into his plan. The concept of simplicity is lost on him, even though you repeatedly try to explain it. It’s his way or the highway.
3) The “Clueless Child”
This is the opposite of the garbage collector. Like a child with a short attention span, he is indecisive and ignorant. Working with the clueless child might not seem so bad at the beginning; he is agreeable and relies on your expertise. Problems only arise after your initial agreement on the details of the project—when he starts to change his mind. He has probably thought it through after receiving feedback from friends, co-workers or other experts. He calls you in the middle of the night—whenever inspiration strikes—to tell you that he wants certain changes made.
4) The “Queen of Hearts”
Be prepared to be at the beck and call of the queen of hearts. The queen of hearts wants you to fix all her problems, and she wants it done yesterday. Your loyalty is expected, your respect demanded. She has no concept of weekends, public holidays or time itself. If she calls you in the middle of the night, be glad! She wants you to be a strategist, developer, organizer, networker, anti-virus expert, plumber and even nanny. Her wish is your command so just learn to say “Yes, your majesty.”
5) The “Smart Aleck”
The smart Aleck thinks he knows it all. In fact, he has probably worked with a few other experts in the past and so he feels compelled to interfere because he wants his “expert views” to be taken into consideration. The truth is: the smart aleck knows very little about PR or PR Strategy but he insists that his idea is better than yours. He tells you everything without really saying anything. He has particular ideas about what he wants but never communicates them explicitly. “It’s so easy even a monkey could do it,” he claims.
6) The “Nitpicker”
“Hold it right there! I’ve got a bone to pick with you,” says the nitpicker. There is always something wrong with what you’ve done: the plan is not what he envisioned, the content is not engaging enough, the images are not as exciting as he expected. The nitpicker scrutinizes your work and never fails to find fault with it. One could call him a perfectionist, but the truth is he’s just trying to get his money’s worth by ensuring that you work doubly hard for the money that you will wrench from his cold unwilling hands.
7) The “Scrooge”
The scrooge wants everything for nothing. He’s the poster child for “awoof dey run belle”. He loves goodwill so much, so expect to battle for months with the scrooge over final payment for the project. He expects you to fix everything for him even after the deal is done but is not afraid to renege on your fees, and he insists on further discounts, despite your unwillingness. Be happy as soon as you eventually get paid and run as fast as you can from him…though this doesn’t always mean the war is over lol. The scrooge will find you anytime he likes.
In summary, every client has a different level of knowledge and expertise. They also have different expectations. Most of our clients are great to work with and we have a few real gems among them. The truth is this: If you want your industry to be fair, you have to play fair and treat people fairly.