A copywriting client fired me…
After a few weeks of working on a copywriting project for a client, I e-mailed him client to discuss the copy I’d written for his business.
Well… the reply I got wasn’t quite what I expected.
The phrases included “we’re terminating out agreement”, “impact of the message”, and “not acceptable to our corporate direction”.
On the bright side… it also included “appreciate your attempt and professionalism”.
Now of course, there are other parts of this story, but that that’s not my purpose here.
So… it made me feel…
Honestly, when I first read it, I was pissed at him. Then a little disappointed.
And then I started to second guess the quality of my work and expertise, thinking “Well… maybe I just didn’t do a good job, or set proper expectations.” But I know I did.
Oh no… I had been fired by a client… for the first time ever…
Like a divorce, I guess…
So what didn’t I do?
(It’s just as important as what I did do)
I didn’t shoot him back a quick e-mail telling him he was stupid for making the wrong decision…
Or that he was an ass for firing me…
Or spitting out some other sarcastic response…
No no no! I wanted to respond like the professional I am, plus I don’t like to burn bridges if it’s not necessary. Just no reason to.
Actually, this client is well-respected and a nice guy, with a great business. And his e-mail was very professional and courteous, so none of these statements are true.
What I did do
Instead, I sat on it overnight and thought about what he really said, and how I wanted to respond.
When I decide to take on a client, I become a “partner” to them, almost like a marriage. Getting successful results is a 2-way street, so I also expect my clients to collaborate with me, and respond to my questions in a reasonable timeframe.
He wanted me to write “all about him” using what I consider long useless fluffwords that sound important and cool, but don’t say or mean anything, or convey any benefits to the readers.
I realized it was more important for him to maintain a high image and look good, than to persuade his readers to become customers because of the many benefits they’d get.
And converting prospects to customers? That’s what I though he hired me to do, or so I thought.
First of all, I replied to his email professionally, thanked him for the opportunity to work with him, said “sorry it didn’t work out”.
Then I mailed him all the materials and research I’d done for him and he asked for.
The light bulb went on in my head!
Even though his business was a good match for my services, and even though he had the money to pay my fees, his copy ideas and mine simply didn’t jive because all he wanted to talk about was how great the company is. (which I know from experience usually doesn’t work)
Basically, I realized he just wasn’t the ideal client for me, and I wasn’t the right marketing guy for him, and him deciding to part ways was the best thing for both of us. Maybe divorce ain’t so bad after all.
It’s all good, though
Glad it happened early on. Now I can get on with my other projects for clients who do appreciate the work and effort (and results) I get for them.
And have more time to find more clients just like them.
Get more of my ideal clients!
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