Punch the Dancing Monkey
Hilarious email I got once:
Subject: i might wanna hire you
i read your twitter description, i'm interested. book a time with me to pitch me your service/consulting [link to calendar]
What a charmer!
I don't even know him yet, and he's already playing games.
Trying to gain the upper hand. Make *me* go to him and beg for his business.
Customers will do this if you let them. Especially the bad ones who won't respect your time or your expertise.
The fix for this is having a standard process.
As copywriter Bob Bly likes to say, "Don't be the dancing monkey."
The client is coming to you—they're the one who needs to jump through hoops.
Now I'm not even taking freelance gigs right now.
When I am though, I don't take on new clients without first investing time to study their business and critique their marketing. I call it my Sales Copy Diagnostic.
And it takes time—sometimes a full day. So I charge for it.
It's better for the client, because they ultimately get the copy they need, not just what they think they want.
And it's better for me, because it flushes out bad clients... People like Donnie who'll play power games and jerk you around.
I laid down the law with Donnie and told him what had to happen if he wanted to move forward.
i can afford it no problem- but i need to be sold. i'm not convinced of the value, i could hire a lot of writers. let em know if it's worth your time talking for a few mins to pitch me.
Hit the road, Donnie, you won't be missed.
I'm sure you'll find someone else to be your dancing monkey.
P.S. Another lesson here is that you want to do business with people who are already sold on your value.
Around the same time Donnie approached me, I did a Sales Copy Diagnostic call with a new client who'd been on my email list for a little while.
Instead of demanding I put on a song and dance for him, we got right down to work—me critiquing his copy while he scribbled away taking notes.
What a contrast.