Taking Care of YOUR Expectations

ImageEveryone wants to get paid what they are worth. The problem is, many people don’t know what their work is valued at. They may have ideas and surveys and studies may help shape those ideas.  But, when it comes down to it, working for someone else or yourself, fees are accessed and expectations are created.  Here’s a timely look at managing your client’s expectations.  I wrote this a couple of years back.

Managing a client’s expectations upfront has always been key in the public relations and marketing service field (I will now add any service industry, Real estate, healthcare, automotive, etc.). Having worked on the client side, the agency side and consulting side I’ve seen the 360 degree view from all sides. When you clash with a client, or agency, over goals and expectations within the first two weeks  of working with them somebody missed the boat.  When writing proposals most goals are clearly written and agreed to before any work takes place.  This is necessary before any contract is even written.  But, when clients blatantly can’t see the value in your work (they hired you because you know more than they do) what do you do?  Sometimes the best thing is to walk away.

Goal Setting is Key for any Proposal.  Almost every client I’ve worked with or talked to initially wants to be on the Today Show and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  Some clients have shied away from that saying “they only want trades.”  I have had clients who in the past would want me to seek out media opportunities, as many as I could, just to approve or disapprove the opportunity – and nine times out of ten they turned them down. You know the scary ones where you get millions of media impressions in one minute like CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg radio or TV.  You know the really easy placements to get that take no time at all securing. The funny thing is that it is within their target audience and on message. What do they know that you don’t know?  I had one client say after turning down a media placement on a national broadcast television news show that they didn’t want the world to see their soft underbelly.  What?  Having worked with them for three months I didn’t realize they had a soft underbelly – and no amount of Pilates and or, yoga would help firm that up.  In retrospect the client wasn’t allowing us – the agency – full disclosure.  About a year after that media opp the company filed for bankruptcy protection and was later bought out. Goal setting needs to be objective, attainable and on message, but if the client isn’t disclosing to you their real self at the beginning, you may achieve the initial goals only to have them deflate before seeing them executed.

 

What I Learned This Summer

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Ah, it’s back to school time!  Kiddies off to school, cooler weather blowing in, shorter days, shorter nights, etc.  I look forward to some of these things and others I do not.  I don’t like shorter days – I would like to take a walk up til 8PM all throughout the year.  The increasing darkness makes that hard.  I miss all the outdoor summer activities that are around – outdoor music, outdoor dining, being able to walk on the beach without a parka.

During this past summer I learned much about fishing and its’ tackle.  My dad was an awesome fisherman by most accounts and it was his main hobby. Like all hobbies, one will buy what one wants to buy in that hobby category without regard to cost, amount, use, ability to store it, or anything else that makes rational sense.  I took it on my duty to try and sell some of my dads hundreds of pieces of fishing equipment.  I still have some if you are interested – email me here.  Pick-up is essential and it’s a lovely drive to eastern Long Island in case you were wondering.  Mostly it was men who came here to look, buy, be in awe, and get a bargain.  So to sum it all up, I put a list together for you to learn from me.  Here it is:

1) If you want to negotiate you work in finance: Sounds easy but I discounted all the fishing items, especially reels.  I learned a lot in the first week after Google and Ebay taught me price points. If you got a $15 reel the first week and didn’t the next – thank ebay! There was only 1 man daring to counter my low prices, and when asked if he worked in finance said, “Why yes I do have an MBA and work in Finance.” I’m more intuitive then most people know.

2) Let them think you don’t know anything about the equipment then quote prices on Ebay!  Seems right because I like to see how much these men knew about the retail costs as well.  And, after the first week (everyone has a learning curve) I blew them away with my knowledge of Penn, Abu Garcia, Lures, Lead Weighters, etc.  

3) There’s a market for Everything in good condition: Ebay and the men who wanted to buy older, or vintage reels blew me away in their price to pursue ownership of certain reels.  Abu Garcia – a Swedish reel maker (No not the singing group) and well regarded, snagged the highest single price for an older reel in its original box and instructions.

4) Anyone with a fishing hobby can never have enough, rods, reels, lures, or hooks. I met men who had dozens of reels and wanted to buy more.  Do you use them all?  I asked.  No, but it’s great to have them they said. OK.

5) You Don’t know where the best buyer will come from.  I had two young men, early twenties contact me and came out from  an hour maybe 45 minutes away.  They wouldn’t tell me the name of their town, although I asked everyone for first and last name.  I figured they will buy a few things and be gone.  They each bought the most amount in a single visit that anyone did.  They both made their own lures, and bought the 2 bags of buck tail we had.  They bought 3 lead molds each to make their own weighters, and many lures, hooks and a rod.  Well done.  They fish for food.  Way to go!

6) If you have something you want to sell in your home – start by word of mouth. I started with my church sphere, then paid advertising, then free advertising.  All got people interested and resulted in sales.

7) If you are letting strangers in your home get phone numbers, first and last name.  Caller ID makes it easier today than ever to do this.  By getting their information upfront, in case there ever was a negative incident – suspecting someone of stealing or something (and there wasn’t here) you will have the basics to put in a call to the police.  Realtor’s when doing Open Houses routinely ask for this info as well – most home owners want to know who is coming into their home.  Wouldn’t you?

8) You are not going to make thousands off your stuff.  Aside from the Antiques Road Show dream where you bring in an old item that gets appraised for free to be worth thousands of dollars, most hobby related stuff will not fetch that much.  You may get enough for a nice dinner out but be realistic.

9) Older lures that look faded and not worth much maybe are.  One young man, in his early twenties taught me much about lures – striped bass Atoms, and Reverse Squids – both of which are not made anymore.  These lures are legend and preferred by Striper fans everywhere because they work well – that is getting the fish to bite. If you want some I still have them!

10) You are never too old to learn something.  I got to understand the laws and likes of fishing by selling all this stuff.  I didn’t want to use eBay – never did before, but did and was successful in selling.  I got to understand my dad’s hobby better and the people, men, who like to use the equipment and enjoy the sport.

Well, that wraps it up for my summer learning experience. I hope you learned something along the way too.  Until next time, good fishing!ImageImageImage