Help! I have a really needy client ... how do I tell them to back off a little?

24 replies
Hi Everyone,

I have a really, really needy new client based overseas.

I am just doing a small project for him and usually it would be probably a 5 to 10 hour job, nothing massive however he wants to speak on Skype all the time about the most minor things.

Skype call 1 - discussion to confirm the job - TICK
Skype call 2 - call back to clarify one further (simple point) - TICK
Skype call 3 - another quick chat about something he was thinking about - TICK

Now he is asking for a 4th Skype phone call which I said I don't have time to do as I am busy working on his project and if he wants to send a message feel free to email.

Honestly, he is lovely but the need for Skype chats is above my usual quota and it is doing my head in slightly.

My email to him has been clear - basically I work best over email, not Skype so please send me any info, messages and docs to support the project through here. I don't have time for Skypes all day and at a moment notice.

The message isn't really getting through.

Any other bright ideas - apart from shutting down my Skype account
#back #client #needy
  • Profile picture of the author Brian Driscoll
    Haha, this seems particularly needy (more than 1 call in a day!?!?!?)

    I personally set a specific time frame for ALL my phone calls. 12 - 2 PM PST.

    That way, clients can only get a hold of me once (because I have to talk to other people, and even if I don't have anyone to talk to, I just don't take calls after 2pm unless I am talking to a lead OR a client that I have been working with for more than 6 months).

    Just set the boundaries in the beginning. As well, you can charge for phone calls as a separate hourly charge.

    You can justify it by outlining the process of communication, deliverables, and back n' forth.

    Then if the client needs to speak more than what has been specified, you at least get paid for it (and they won't do it unless they really need to)

    Hope that helps! Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author EugeneWHZ
    You can say that now you are in a bit loud place and won't be able to hear properly and just ask to email you his new portion of thoughts. You can also underline benefits - nothing will be lost via email since every thought will be written.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by EugeneWHZ View Post

      You can say that now you are in a bit loud place and won't be able to hear properly and just ask to email you his new portion of thoughts. You can also underline benefits - nothing will be lost via email since every thought will be written.
      That's a good idea, I have considered having 'technical' issues with my Skype
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  • Profile picture of the author axtonkong
    Hi,
    I used to give in when clients wanted more or becoming needy etc, I always try to be nice so that i can have a happy client. But most of the time i became really unhappy, unless the deal is worth much more than it should be.

    Then some one gave me a piece advice, just tell your client what you have in mind - in a professional way. When we try to give excuses and be nice, then we aren't being professional enough. You will be surprise how the clients actually respect you more when you do that. They may not be happy but they will give you more respect.
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  • Profile picture of the author anhvu
    Originally Posted by BlossMart View Post

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a really, really needy new client based overseas.

    I am just doing a small project for him and usually it would be probably a 5 to 10 hour job, nothing massive however he wants to speak on Skype all the time about the most minor things.

    Skype call 1 - discussion to confirm the job - TICK
    Skype call 2 - call back to clarify one further (simple point) - TICK
    Skype call 3 - another quick chat about something he was thinking about - TICK

    Now he is asking for a 4th Skype phone call which I said I don't have time to do as I am busy working on his project and if he wants to send a message feel free to email.

    Honestly, he is lovely but the need for Skype chats is above my usual quota and it is doing my head in slightly.

    My email to him has been clear - basically I work best over email, not Skype so please send me any info, messages and docs to support the project through here. I don't have time for Skypes all day and at a moment notice.

    The message isn't really getting through.

    Any other bright ideas - apart from shutting down my Skype account
    Hi friend,

    why don't you tell your client as what you tell us here? Telling him honestly about your situation. I think he will be sympathetic.

    Why don't you and your client make a communication plan at specific times of day?

    All the best!

    - Anhvu
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Stop using Skype too much or put your profile as invisible.

    Skype can be one of the greatest time wasters around and the better paying clients are not online all the time. Most businesses are not online at all.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      Stop using Skype too much or put your profile as invisible.

      Skype can be one of the greatest time wasters around and the better paying clients are not online all the time. Most businesses are not online at all.

      I would add that YOU are the problem... not the client.

      You gave the client your skype address in the first place.
      You (for some reason) seem to feel a need to chat with him anytime he asks.

      Instead, either make your profile invisible as suggested, or simply quit skype and only bring it up once per day to answer anything that may have come up in the interim.
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      Sid Hale
      Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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      • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
        Originally Posted by Sid Hale View Post

        I would add that YOU are the problem... not the client.

        You gave the client your skype address in the first place.
        You (for some reason) seem to feel a need to chat with him anytime he asks.

        Instead, either make your profile invisible as suggested, or simply quit skype and only bring it up once per day to answer anything that may have come up in the interim.
        Thanks Sid, I am aware I am the problem however a quick inital Skype chat is one thing but the constant requests for conversations is impossible to predict.

        I have put myself on NA now, however it's a tad frustrating that it is assumed for a small project I have to be online and chatting about it - I have projects 10 times the size that need little to no communication.

        Thanks for your comment.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      Stop using Skype too much or put your profile as invisible.

      Skype can be one of the greatest time wasters around and the better paying clients are not online all the time. Most businesses are not online at all.
      Yep, I found that out a few months ago when I would go on it and then evidently when I got on it everyone of my Contacts was notified I was on it. Which caused a consistent tsunami of people hopping on when they saw me to talk to me and a huge time waster lol


      - Robert Andrew
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by discrat View Post

        Yep, I found that out a few months ago when I would go on it and then evidently when I got on it everyone of my Contacts was notified I was on it. Which caused a consistent tsunami of people hopping on when they saw me to talk to me and a huge time waster lol
        I dislike it even for initial business communications when they are not on my contact list already - Annie just hit a key reason why. I find emails much easier to lookup what was said and what wasn't.

        The only people who really ask for my skype contact are forum contacts. Yet to have a business ask me for one. Another reason I hate it is 7 times out of ten the person is fishing for information not a serious client. He/she is hoping I'll give them just enough so they can skip using my services or products and they often tend to go on and on about what they are doing.

        A recent idiot even was asking me my opinion about someone else who they were thinking of hiring for A gig that's my own specialty (promised him the impossible for cheaper). Like I was going to answer him. I drop more contacts than I keep for all the time wasting Skype can create.
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  • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
    I got rid of Skype completely several years ago. I state specifically that all communication will be by email only.I qualify this by explaining that this protects both parties with a clear 'paper trail' of discussions and arrangements.

    I work out of a home office 50 miles from the center of Dallas. I loose a significant number of possible clients located in Dallas when I explain it's just not possible for me to drive in and meet with them. That would represent an hour plus driving in, an hour plus in discussion and an hour plus driving back to Greenville. And that's assuming no traffic delays.

    People thousands of miles away hire me with all discussions via email yet a lot of Dallas residents balk at this.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by AnniePot View Post


      People thousands of miles away hire me with all discussions via email yet a lot of Dallas residents balk at this.
      In my experience thats great. I am a red blooded Patriotic (to a point) American but can't deny it - My best and all time favorite clients are Non- US.

      British, British Columbia, parts of Europe.

      Serious minded, not mind numbingly cheap and much less nonsense.
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      • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
        Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

        In my experience thats great. I am a red blooded Patriotic (to a point) American but can't deny it - My best and all time favorite clients are Non- US.

        British, British Columbia, parts of Europe.

        Serious minded, not mind numbingly cheap and much less nonsense.
        This is exactly what I've found. The further away they are located, the better they turn out to be as clients.Somehow they have a completely different mindset.
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  • Profile picture of the author timng
    You just need to regain your posture.

    Set your limits clearly with him. Get him to book a timeslot with you. Show him the limited available timeslots. This will highlight to him that you are highly sought after.

    Hope it helps. Of course, staying offline helps well. But I think regaining posture is more important. Just be honest with him.
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    Making a Living, Creating Value for Fellow Internet Marketers

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    • Profile picture of the author princetotem
      I agree with this advice, book a time slot that is scheduled for a limited amount of time Eg. 15-10 minutes only, at a time that is suitable for you both either a week or two weeks away. He may build up further points to make in this 'skype absence' which allows you to blast through them all in the dedicated appointment.
      Keep strict working hours too, simply for your own healths sake. Eg. If you work until 6pm, don't answer his 8-9pm emails until you've started working again the next day. Make sure your working hours are known.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Bridgen
    How about if you just send him a message saying you will give one Skype call each week or what ever and any more help needed charge a fee.
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  • Profile picture of the author gregorybair
    This is a great question, and something that we have to deal with all the time right? Some clients can be very demanding, and think they need to explain things over and over again. At the end of the day, we have to work, and talking to the client, even if they are perfectly pleasant and cordial, can be distracting. I think the best way to have handled it is to have done exactly what you did, which is to say, I work best over email and do not prefer Skype. Now, if he doesn’t get that, I would say, try simply ignoring him. Eventually he will get the message. Of course, this bears some risk of jeopardizing your relationship from a business perspective as well. However, if the client is really that cumbersome in the first place, maybe you are better out without him. But if he is too valuable, then you might have to just learn to deal with it.
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  • If he doesn't want to e-mail, he can leave offline messages on skype. Tell him you cannot accommodate all his skype calls because they take away hours that could be devoted to doing the work that clients pay you for. Freelancers cannot afford productivity killers.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by BlossMart View Post

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a really, really needy new client based overseas.

    I am just doing a small project for him and usually it would be probably a 5 to 10 hour job, nothing massive however he wants to speak on Skype all the time about the most minor things.

    Skype call 1 - discussion to confirm the job - TICK
    Skype call 2 - call back to clarify one further (simple point) - TICK
    Skype call 3 - another quick chat about something he was thinking about - TICK

    Now he is asking for a 4th Skype phone call which I said I don't have time to do as I am busy working on his project and if he wants to send a message feel free to email.

    Honestly, he is lovely but the need for Skype chats is above my usual quota and it is doing my head in slightly.

    My email to him has been clear - basically I work best over email, not Skype so please send me any info, messages and docs to support the project through here. I don't have time for Skypes all day and at a moment notice.

    The message isn't really getting through.

    Any other bright ideas - apart from shutting down my Skype account
    Just be clear, be nice, but lay down the law - be clear on how/when you communicate.
    If he wants extra skype time, tell him there is a charge for that.
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by ChrisBa View Post

      Just be clear, be nice, but lay down the law - be clear on how/when you communicate.
      If he wants extra skype time, tell him there is a charge for that.
      Thanks Chris, I am so uncomfortable charging for time on the phone or skype and yet if I actually timed it the tally would add up to a few hours on average a week.

      I have a colleague that unapologetically charges for her time on the phone in 15 minute, 30 minutes, 45 minute and hour blocks and she has a lower call rate (obviously cos most people are cheap) and she manages her day much better.

      I have had to push back pretty hard for this client and I think he has got the message. He's pretty new into the biz and I think his excitement and lack of knowledge is channelled into wanting to talk too much.

      I don't think I am being anti-social or rude, I just can't afford to 'chat' about so many things that could be easily emailable.

      I think I will set up a firm policy in the new year outlining charges for phone time, just as I would for any other task classified as work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
    That happens when you put someone on a pedestal. There has to be some sort of "arrogance" in business relations where you both value each other's time and money.

    I know it's not easy to tell the clingy clients about how you are feeling. But, being a writer you can word it well in a long email. Something that doesn't shatter your "nice guy" image. Tell him that you have other projects to handle too, and we can shift to hourly rate if you really want to keep this on skype.

    Thanks
    -J
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  • Profile picture of the author james flynn
    Originally Posted by BlossMart View Post

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a really, really needy new client based overseas.

    I am just doing a small project for him and usually it would be probably a 5 to 10 hour job, nothing massive however he wants to speak on Skype all the time about the most minor things.

    Skype call 1 - discussion to confirm the job - TICK
    Skype call 2 - call back to clarify one further (simple point) - TICK
    Skype call 3 - another quick chat about something he was thinking about - TICK

    Now he is asking for a 4th Skype phone call which I said I don't have time to do as I am busy working on his project and if he wants to send a message feel free to email.

    Honestly, he is lovely but the need for Skype chats is above my usual quota and it is doing my head in slightly.

    My email to him has been clear - basically I work best over email, not Skype so please send me any info, messages and docs to support the project through here. I don't have time for Skypes all day and at a moment notice.

    The message isn't really getting through.

    Any other bright ideas - apart from shutting down my Skype account
    Well your client is located overseas which is good because you can insist that you won't take calls because you're busy working or sleeping. I used to have a same client who was always kind of pushy to talk on skype because typing details about the project was way too hard for him. To cut the long story short, I confronted the guy in a professional manner about this issue and told him that he can only call me within a certain time limit ( which I set for sometime between 1pm-2pm) and for the rest of the day I used to keep my skype on offline mode.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    maybe he's lonely...

    and just wants to chat..


    i say this because it seems you're getting the job done without the skype calls.

    why not fire client?

    your time is your most precious resource, u cant be wasting it on skype, but you know that,.

    -Ike Paz
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    • Profile picture of the author BlossMart
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      maybe he's lonely...

      and just wants to chat..


      i say this because it seems you're getting the job done without the skype calls.

      why not fire client?

      your time is your most precious resource, u cant be wasting it on skype, but you know that,.

      -Ike Paz

      Thanks for your comment Ike, I think he is partly excited and partly a little lonely. The project has been done now and thankfully he backed off and got the hint which was really really helpful and allowed me to get the project done.

      I am limited for time each day and I really struggle with the phone calls, check ins and catch ups, it's not really something I want to be doing. I know everyone is different and I realising I am a little hard line about this but it is just how I work efficiently.

      Skype will be turned off from now on, unless someone specifically books in a time and it is accepted. I won't be leaving it on or allowing the oportunity for ad hoc chats anymore.
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