Client "changes gears" at advice of "dishwasher"...

13 replies
Hey guys!

Question...... While I'm no stranger to Internet marketing and have built several successful businesses, I've encountered a situation today that I want your take on.

A segment of my business deals in "web development" and "local" marketing for small businesses - the kind of thing many in this forum do I recon. We are ramping up that department of the business this year because I see a need for it now, more than ever.

Here's what I want your take on:

We had a job for a local restaurant. Website, menus and some "coupon" flyers the owner wanted.

Website went off great. Owner loved it. Since he loved it, hired us for the other stuff. Today the menus and fliers got completed. Took "proof" to him and he liked the fliers - not so much the menus.

The menus were "tri-fold" and he wanted "one page". Whatever. That one was my fault. I never asked him about. I assumed "tri-fold" was Ok because we've done that for hundreds of others.

I explained this to my staff and told them to redo it. That will be on my dime. Lesson learned. Now the strange part.....

Owner loved the flier UNTIL his "dishwasher" came out, saw it and had another opinion. He told the owner "change this and that.... use these colors.... Etc."

From that point on, the owner was this mans "puppet" wanting all the changes the dishwasher wanted.

Apparently he holds that person in high esteem.

I told my web developer who was presenting the work to "do whatever they want" in the name of "customer service" and also in that name, I told the owner "sorry we didn't see your vision. We will get it right this time".

BUT..... should I have done that? We do what WORKS and NOT just what "looks how they want it to". We try to balance it.

I won't get into it here but we specifically designed his coupon flyer to get customers in the door and carry his brand. The product he and the "dishwasher" came up with? Not so much.

So the question is.... Has anyone ever had any clients "swayed" by an "outside influence" and change gears on you?"

I'll admit, because of my authority within the market I usually operate, I've been spoiled by clients paying me money to "do what I do" and there's not much other interaction.

Not the case here? What say you, fellow offliners?

PS - I'm not going to fire the client. This is our first rough patch after years of working together. He is (usually) a great client and great guy.
#advice #changes gears #client #dishwasher
  • Profile picture of the author Virtualghost
    Why not tell him your thoughts why you did it that way and suggest leaving it as is for now and see what kind of customer feedback he get's from your designs as he may see his customer is more receptive to the new look.And your open to change if there comes negative feedback from his customers as they are the ones your trying to please also.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    Finding out why he holds the dishwasher's opinion in such high regard is important.

    He might be family learning all the steps from the bottom up. He might not really
    be a dishwasher, he might have just been filling in a needed spot that day.

    Of course he could just be a dishwasher - but off the cuff - i doubt it.

    What is very possible - the guy already wanted it changed but did not know how
    to tell you - it happens - specially when you have a strong authority stance.

    When the dishwasher spoke up - it changed the dynamic allowing the owner
    to speak his mind.

    I have accidentally steamrolled my opinion onto others many times. It is my
    personality type, I don't even know I am doing it.

    It takes a lot of effort on my part - not to do that.

    I could be completely off base, but it's something worth considering.
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    • Wouldn't be surprised if the "Dishwasher" was part owner, but keeps a low profile on purpose. Seen it far to many times.
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      the market you are going after, is one I focused on and in the future will continue to focus on. very lucrative, and easy to approach. its right out your front door.

      The scenario of changing gears does present itself in this environment more so than any other. In your case the "dishwasher" is the one that is putting a kink in the works. There is really no sense in speculating the tie in, and apparent value the owner has towards this guy. It could be he is a new hire that is in his 4th year of a marketing degree. It could be as others have stated, he is family. It could even be he was competing for the work that you won, and in desperate times, he needed a job.

      Aside from all of that... I started very young in the print industry. as in family owned, started "working" at that shop at the age of 5. I can recall at a very very young age hearing and understanding the word "proof". Many years later as I developed my own business the proof concept went with me. At this point it is not just a proof, it is a system of checks and balances.

      I have literally incorporated the concept into any and every aspect of what I do. This does a couple of things for me. #1 as in this case, it saves me expense. #2 it creates a process of dialogue between my company and the clients. It brings the clients into the process. #3 I have found that the process is something that most clients "like" and is one of the finer points that creates referrals.

      The benefit to this process on our end ( the fulfiller of services ) is you now have a path of checks IE signatures that can be pointed to when a opportunity of change ( as in this case ) takes place. I will tell you that I have only ever twice pushed this... the client will usually say my bad, what do I owe for this, and please lets do it this way.

      At this point in your business development the best thing you can do is make a small investment that will save you tons over time HP Designjet T120 ePrinter | HP® Official Site A good sized desktop large format printer gives you the ability to print out page designs, flyers and even menus so that you can get the all mighty signature to move forward!

      From a amount of personal experience I will hint at something here. I believe your issues with the dishwasher are just starting. I will more than assume that the look at feel of the Website and the menu where closely tied. The dishwasher's suggestion of color changes etc, is opening up the plausible changes that will be made to the web site as well.

      Hope that Helps!
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      • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
        Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

        the market you are going after, is one I focused on and in the future will continue to focus on. very lucrative, and easy to approach. its right out your front door.

        The scenario of changing gears does present itself in this environment more so than any other. In your case the "dishwasher" is the one that is putting a kink in the works. There is really no sense in speculating the tie in, and apparent value the owner has towards this guy. It could be he is a new hire that is in his 4th year of a marketing degree. It could be as others have stated, he is family. It could even be he was competing for the work that you won, and in desperate times, he needed a job.

        Aside from all of that... I started very young in the print industry. as in family owned, started "working" at that shop at the age of 5. I can recall at a very very young age hearing and understanding the word "proof". Many years later as I developed my own business the proof concept went with me. At this point it is not just a proof, it is a system of checks and balances.

        I have literally incorporated the concept into any and every aspect of what I do. This does a couple of things for me. #1 as in this case, it saves me expense. #2 it creates a process of dialogue between my company and the clients. It brings the clients into the process. #3 I have found that the process is something that most clients "like" and is one of the finer points that creates referrals.

        The benefit to this process on our end ( the fulfiller of services ) is you now have a path of checks IE signatures that can be pointed to when a opportunity of change ( as in this case ) takes place. I will tell you that I have only ever twice pushed this... the client will usually say my bad, what do I owe for this, and please lets do it this way.

        At this point in your business development the best thing you can do is make a small investment that will save you tons over time HP Designjet T120 ePrinter | HP® Official Site A good sized desktop large format printer gives you the ability to print out page designs, flyers and even menus so that you can get the all mighty signature to move forward!

        From a amount of personal experience I will hint at something here. I believe your issues with the dishwasher are just starting. I will more than assume that the look at feel of the Website and the menu where closely tied. The dishwasher's suggestion of color changes etc, is opening up the plausible changes that will be made to the web site as well.

        Hope that Helps!
        Thanks for your advice. Very sound! Like you, I also "cut my teeth" in the printing business. Believe it or not...... I actually have one of those HP printers in my office. i use constantly and am loving it so far!
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    • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      Finding out why he holds the dishwasher's opinion in such high regard is important.

      He might be family learning all the steps from the bottom up. He might not really
      be a dishwasher, he might have just been filling in a needed spot that day.

      Of course he could just be a dishwasher - but off the cuff - i doubt it.

      What is very possible - the guy already wanted it changed but did not know how
      to tell you - it happens - specially when you have a strong authority stance.

      When the dishwasher spoke up - it changed the dynamic allowing the owner
      to speak his mind.

      I have accidentally steamrolled my opinion onto others many times. It is my
      personality type, I don't even know I am doing it.

      It takes a lot of effort on my part - not to do that.

      I could be completely off base, but it's something worth considering.
      Thanks Ken. Yeah, i agree that finding out this other person's roll was important. I did that. He is, in deed, a kitchen worker for now. I say "for now" because, while unrelated to the owner, he's been there since the beginning and is training to be a franchisee.

      As an update..... what i did was ask the owner 'who is this person?" and..... "if he has valuable input, I want him formally involved in the process (in other words, all 3 of us.

      We had a sit down meeting, came up with a plan and all is resolved. Thanks everyone for your valuable advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
    I have quite a bit of experience doing B2B customer service, and this is the way I would be inclined to handle it.

    You say this is a long-time client that you have a good working relationship with. That gives you a unique opportunity to request an informal meeting where you can clear the air. I would frame it exactly this way:

    Hey, I was hoping to take a few minutes to chat about the direction this project has gone.

    Once he says yes...

    I'd like to clarify your expectations of me, and make sure you understand why we developed the menu the way we did. You are the boss, and we will bend over backwards to make you happy, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't make sure you were aware of the reservations we had about the dishwasher's suggestions.

    Ultimately, it is your call. We work for you. I just want you to have all of the information so you can make the best decisions possible.


    If he insists the dishwasher should be a part of the process from now on, you should accommodate that request and ask to meet with him as well, so you can all be on the same page going forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author MoneyDan
    Banned
    Originally Posted by XponentSYS View Post

    Hey guys!

    Question...... While I'm no stranger to Internet marketing and have built several successful businesses, I've encountered a situation today that I want your take on.

    A segment of my business deals in "web development" and "local" marketing for small businesses - the kind of thing many in this forum do I recon. We are ramping up that department of the business this year because I see a need for it now, more than ever.

    Here's what I want your take on:

    We had a job for a local restaurant. Website, menus and some "coupon" flyers the owner wanted.

    Website went off great. Owner loved it. Since he loved it, hired us for the other stuff. Today the menus and fliers got completed. Took "proof" to him and he liked the fliers - not so much the menus.

    The menus were "tri-fold" and he wanted "one page". Whatever. That one was my fault. I never asked him about. I assumed "tri-fold" was Ok because we've done that for hundreds of others.

    I explained this to my staff and told them to redo it. That will be on my dime. Lesson learned. Now the strange part.....

    Owner loved the flier UNTIL his "dishwasher" came out, saw it and had another opinion. He told the owner "change this and that.... use these colors.... Etc."

    From that point on, the owner was this mans "puppet" wanting all the changes the dishwasher wanted.

    Apparently he holds that person in high esteem.

    I told my web developer who was presenting the work to "do whatever they want" in the name of "customer service" and also in that name, I told the owner "sorry we didn't see your vision. We will get it right this time".

    BUT..... should I have done that? We do what WORKS and NOT just what "looks how they want it to". We try to balance it.

    I won't get into it here but we specifically designed his coupon flyer to get customers in the door and carry his brand. The product he and the "dishwasher" came up with? Not so much.

    So the question is.... Has anyone ever had any clients "swayed" by an "outside influence" and change gears on you?"

    I'll admit, because of my authority within the market I usually operate, I've been spoiled by clients paying me money to "do what I do" and there's not much other interaction.

    Not the case here? What say you, fellow offliners?

    PS - I'm not going to fire the client. This is our first rough patch after years of working together. He is (usually) a great client and great guy.
    You have to let the client know what you've just told us. If it's too late to apply here, make sure to do it in all future orders.

    "Listen, I know what you're wanting is different that what I'm recommending. I strongly advise we go with my design because with my experience it has been the best converting model and has worked wonders for the other businesses I'm partnered with. I'm just letting you know that even though I strongly advise otherwise, I will print what you want...just know I believe you won't be getting max returns"
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Is there a way to test the dishwasher's version vs yours?

      If you guarantee flyers that work, you need to show that your flyer works best. Or else you lose standing and you go from marketer to printer.

      If that's okay with you, no problem. Otherwise, I think you should, even at your cost, run your version in such a way that the owner knows the results from your flyers are from your flyers not the dishwashers.

      If the dishwasher's version wins, hire the dishwasher.
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        • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
          Lots of good ideas and opinions here, this is a great example of what actually happens in the"real world" of small biz marketing


          IMHO Pizzerias are especially prone to "influences"....the "familigia" LOL...and/or friends, co workers


          I had one Pizza shop with a strange website , candy colors, pale blue and lavender - looked like My Little Pony, was designed by the owners newphew?
          Another Pizza shop owner called me back cause his facebook, run by one of his cashiers, was a mess - she had it as a "personal" account, with over 800 friends...alongside her own personal account..some of her buddies were posting "selfies" on the pizza account , typical young 20's party nights, bad jokes, and such...not a good look, I had to migrate that to a biz/fan page and cleanup the "past" LOL


          I do agree with the "proof" idea - I used to deal with another pizza shop owner, handled her printing, menu designs etc, but she was always trying to change the deal, get a better price, etc, and then offered some food in trade. Eventually I had to tell her I was too busy because I could not waste my time with her games




          Still lots of pizza shops out there do need "help" of all sorts, just be prepared for some hassles
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        • Profile picture of the author The Pines
          Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post



          Al Pacino's cleaning the dishes, and Steven Seagal's doing the cooking...


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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    One of my desk clerks said I should talk to him when it comes time for me to purchase the hotel I manage. He sounded serious, wants to be the silent partner, and he is not the world's most responsible or organized guy. So it is believable that he would want to remain carefree. His family seems to have money. Ya' just never know.
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