Boss Responses

#17: How to Say No to Unreasonable Clients with Leslie Lang

December 12, 2023 Treasa Edmond Episode 17
#17: How to Say No to Unreasonable Clients with Leslie Lang
Boss Responses
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Boss Responses
#17: How to Say No to Unreasonable Clients with Leslie Lang
Dec 12, 2023 Episode 17
Treasa Edmond

Ever grapple with clients making absurd requests that threaten your work’s integrity? Ever had to explain why plagiarism is a big no-no? Host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Leslie Lang offer advice born from experience on when and how to say no to unreasonable client requests. 

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Leslie Lang is a former journalist turned freelance B2B content marketing writer and content strategist. She specializes in writing about technology and Higher Ed and K-12. Leslie's work includes white papers, ebooks, case studies, ghostwritten articles, op-ed pieces, blog posts, and infographics for marketing agencies and clients such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Dropbox, Adobe, Salesforce, and Verizon. Interested in Hawaii? Check out Leslie's booksMauna Kea: A Guide to Hawai‘i’s Sacred Mountain, Exploring Historic Hilo, and What Would Our Kūpuna Do?
Check out Leslie’s YouTube channel Midlife Dialogues, where she interviews people doing interesting things in midlife.

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Show Notes Transcript

Ever grapple with clients making absurd requests that threaten your work’s integrity? Ever had to explain why plagiarism is a big no-no? Host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Leslie Lang offer advice born from experience on when and how to say no to unreasonable client requests. 

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Leslie Lang is a former journalist turned freelance B2B content marketing writer and content strategist. She specializes in writing about technology and Higher Ed and K-12. Leslie's work includes white papers, ebooks, case studies, ghostwritten articles, op-ed pieces, blog posts, and infographics for marketing agencies and clients such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Dropbox, Adobe, Salesforce, and Verizon. Interested in Hawaii? Check out Leslie's booksMauna Kea: A Guide to Hawai‘i’s Sacred Mountain, Exploring Historic Hilo, and What Would Our Kūpuna Do?
Check out Leslie’s YouTube channel Midlife Dialogues, where she interviews people doing interesting things in midlife.

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome back to the Boss Responses podcast and day two with our guest co-host, Leslie Lang. Today we are going to talk about what to do when your client is wrong, because sometimes it happens. Let's go ahead and jump into today's question. If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, Treasa Edmond. I've been dealing with clients and running my business for nearly two decades and in that time I've dealt with my share of doubt, imposter syndrome and not knowing what to say when a client asks a question. I wasn't ready for. I created this podcast to empower you with the Boss Responses you need to grow your business. Each week, my guest co-host and I will bring you five episodes packed with practical insights. Monday through Thursday, we answer your questions, and Fridays we dive deep to explore how our co-host embraced their role as the boss of their business. Welcome to Boss Responses. Happy Tuesday, Leslie. What is our question today?

Leslie Lang:

Today's question. My client constantly wants me to make changes that are wrong actually wrong, not just a matter of preference. I've had to explain that words don't exist, there are basic grammar rules and why plagiarism is wrong. How can I just say no to certain requests, boy, that's quite a question.

Treasa Edmond:

And I laugh, but I've actually dealt with some of this, such as the why plagiarism is wrong. People just don't know any better. They honestly don't think that they are wrong, so sometimes you just don't even tell them that they're wrong. You just say this is not correct and you move on. No, I believe, is one of the most powerful words we can use when we're dealing with our clients, because no and it doesn't have to be like a strict no, although sometimes you just need to say no, but in a situation like this, plagiarism absolutely no Plagiarism is against my ethics.

Treasa Edmond:

I will not do that. Whenever you're using someone else's work without their permission, that's plagiarism, and that's not somewhere I'm willing to go, and it's not something I will lead my business through, and I've said that to people multiple times. When you get that thing where the client sends you someone else's email and says can you just take the words from this email and put it in my next one, you know that happens and you say no, I absolutely cannot do that. If you'd like something in this tone, I can write something original, but figure out why they want it instead. If, though, you have a client that is constantly doing stuff like this. You're not setting yourself up as the expert ahead of time. So, from that very first discovery, call your very first communication with the client. If you are portraying yourself as the expert and you're saying I'm so happy to work on this project with you I've worked on projects like this multiple times with many clients. I'm really happy to do it, comfortable doing it. However you want to word it, let them know this is what you do, this is how you do it and you're an expert at it. And then if they come back, you can ask them why did you want to change it from the wording that I had to this word.

Treasa Edmond:

If it's a bad decision, sometimes, if it's a preference, let them make it. Ultimately, they own it. If it's a design that might be different, if it totally makes the design look bad and your name is still going to be linked to the design. But for words, if they just want to use a weird word, ask them why. If it makes some kind of sense, go with it. If it's plagiarism, if it makes your writing look horrible, ask to have your name removed or just walk away from the project entirely. If they won't see reason as to how to say no, just say no, I'm sorry, that's not something that I can do, absolutely cross-bord. You don't even have to apologize, you can just say that's not something that I can do. I'm not comfortable doing that, ethically, I'm not willing to do that. However you want to say it, just be firm about it and they'll either respect it or they weren't a good client. What do you think, leslie?

Leslie Lang:

I agree completely. You said a lot of different things there that are important. First of all, sometimes it's just preference. You think that it would be better one way and probably it would be better this way, but for some reason they want it that way. It's not inaccurate, it's not plagiarism, it's just not really very good writing. You might suggest one time and then move on. That's not worth. Maybe this isn't a client you want to work with again, but move on.

Leslie Lang:

If it's really egregious, you might want to remove your name, like you said. Ask them to take your name off it. I've done that once or twice and then I don't work with that client again. That's fine. Sometimes I don't want my name on something. I think the bigger picture here is if this is happening to an alarming extent, who's this caliber of client you're working with? I don't want to work with clients that way. I want to work with clients who have a grasp of the language and want the best writing that I can offer and aren't trying to make errors, introduce errors into my work. You might want to step back and think about this. Is this someone I really want to be working with? Do I need to up my game a little?

Treasa Edmond:

bit. That's a really good point. Sometimes that's how you say no. You say I'm not willing to work with this client again. Now, if you have the problem that this is an anchor client, then I would seriously start prospecting for new clients so that you can let them go. If this is just going to be an ongoing problem, A client who you feel like you have to justify things to and argue with constantly is not a client you ever want to keep. Letting them go will do more for your mindset than anything ever could.

Leslie Lang:

I agree, there's stages to your freelance work. There's stages. Maybe you've outgrown that level of client. Maybe it's time to move and start approaching different types of clients who are a little more professional. You got to think about these things.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, absolutely All right. Thank you for being here. We'll be back tomorrow with another question.

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