Have you ever had the feeling that something was wrong during an interview with a prospect? But since you had no “proof” of what it was, you agreed to work with them. If you’re the only person who hasn’t, let me set the scene.
Customer Jones contacted me for a resume. I kindly chatted about their goals, the intent of the project and what content would be relevant. We agreed on a price and the customer Jones decided to hire me. I sent him an email with the task of gathering the necessary information.
Fast forward one month. Good businessman that I am, I continued. Client Jones replies that life is hindering him from completing his task, but he is still working on it and will return it to me shortly. At the time I thought it wouldn’t work, but I told myself I couldn’t fire client Jones, it wasn’t a good deal. So I hoped for the best and kept it as a customer.
Now it’s been a long time and I’m getting ready to go on vacation. Customer Jones only called back three days before I left. You guessed it, you need to quickly complete your project in three days. I politely explained to him that I was going on vacation and that I didn’t have time to take care of his project until I left. I politely explained it to him over and over, but before he hung up the phone he had agreed to speed up his plan to please him.
At the same time, I was naturally wondering what part of the “no” the client didn’t understand, where he would have to get the extra time to complete this project, and I was very unhappy with myself for giving in.
Are you still with me? Those of you who have met the customer Jones nod and I can almost see the steam coming out of your head. For those of you who haven’t, wait, there’s a sense to this story.
Now I have to work overtime to complete this project. But I can say that I resist the task. However, I have put my heart and energy into making this document not only good, but outstanding, even completing it within the tight deadline.
I’m emailing this project to client Jones, I feel great I’ve done superwoman feats and feel like I can jump tall buildings in one go if asked.
And then I get the call from customer Jones. My heart sinks only at the sound of his voice. He says he is disappointed with the result and that major revisions are needed. Oh! It hurts. Without getting defensive, I asked, “Can you give me an example of what you mean by that statement?”
Customer Jones is unable to locate any particular wording or example that is not perfect. He says it just doesn’t suit him. So, still trying to remember that losing control of the situation wouldn’t help, I asked, “Could you give me some details so I can better understand what you think would be a clearer statement?” (Warning: Do not measure the temperature right now, the mercury may explode.)
Before noon on Friday, I received an email stating that I needed help getting the customer’s point of view on how to complete the resume he wanted to represent. I pulled out the waiting document, hoping that the clue would enter his head. The document I pulled out was his old CV, the old wording, the old format and very few changes that I couldn’t even understand as a difference in the overall CV. My heart sank again. (At the time I was thinking of hanging my heart on a yo-yo string so I could quickly lift it as it sank because this happened too often with this client.)
At the critical time I did. Best of all, I left my office to get my hair and nails done, which is what any woman would do before going on vacation. To the right? I’ve often wondered how men get through this last day in the office.
Checking the time … it’s 3:30 now, ask me if I care about customer Jones. I’m beautiful, well, prettier when I left the office, passable on the street and don’t scare the kids on the sidewalk. When I got back to the office, I decided it wasn’t worth fixing this project for any amount of money, especially since client Jones’s ideas on a good resume and mine