Boss Responses

#39: What Should You Do When Clients Delay Projects? with Michelle Garrett

June 06, 2024 Treasa Edmond
#39: What Should You Do When Clients Delay Projects? with Michelle Garrett
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Boss Responses
#39: What Should You Do When Clients Delay Projects? with Michelle Garrett
Jun 06, 2024
Treasa Edmond

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In this episode of Boss Responses podcast, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Michelle Garrett discuss strategies for dealing with clients who delay projects by not providing necessary information on time. They emphasize the importance of setting clear expectations, having open conversations, and defining deadlines upfront. They also explore how effective client management can prevent such issues. Treasa shares her long-standing experience handling clients, and Michelle offers insights from her PR field. Tune in to learn how to navigate client delays and maintain productive relationships.

About our Guest

Michelle Garrett is a public relations consultant, writer, and speaker who helps B2B companies create content, earn media coverage, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industries. 

After working in various PR and marketing communications roles, including time spent in Silicon Valley with technology companies such as HP, Adobe, and numerous startups, she launched her consulting business to provide down-to-earth advice and a practical approach to public relations for her clients. 

Repeatedly ranked among the industry’s most influential PR professionals, Michelle has written a book, B2B PR That Gets Results. She also launched her own YouTube show, PR Explored, where she interviews trusted industry experts about public relations trends and topics. 

Michelle has written hundreds of articles that have been featured in business publications including Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, and Ragan’s PR Daily. She’s a frequent podcast guest, often quoted as an expert source on public relations, and regularly speaks at events like Content Marketing World, the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. 

In 2018, she founded a weekly Twitter chat called #FreelanceChat to help support freelancers in what can be a lonely journey. Since then, it’s grown to attract dozens of new participants and has been featured in Entrepreneur, MSN Money, and the Houston Chronicle. In 2024, the chat moved to YouTube

Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn

Grab your copy of Michelle's Book: B2B PR That Gets Results 

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 Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of Boss Responses podcast, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Michelle Garrett discuss strategies for dealing with clients who delay projects by not providing necessary information on time. They emphasize the importance of setting clear expectations, having open conversations, and defining deadlines upfront. They also explore how effective client management can prevent such issues. Treasa shares her long-standing experience handling clients, and Michelle offers insights from her PR field. Tune in to learn how to navigate client delays and maintain productive relationships.

About our Guest

Michelle Garrett is a public relations consultant, writer, and speaker who helps B2B companies create content, earn media coverage, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industries. 

After working in various PR and marketing communications roles, including time spent in Silicon Valley with technology companies such as HP, Adobe, and numerous startups, she launched her consulting business to provide down-to-earth advice and a practical approach to public relations for her clients. 

Repeatedly ranked among the industry’s most influential PR professionals, Michelle has written a book, B2B PR That Gets Results. She also launched her own YouTube show, PR Explored, where she interviews trusted industry experts about public relations trends and topics. 

Michelle has written hundreds of articles that have been featured in business publications including Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, and Ragan’s PR Daily. She’s a frequent podcast guest, often quoted as an expert source on public relations, and regularly speaks at events like Content Marketing World, the largest gathering of content marketing professionals in the world. 

In 2018, she founded a weekly Twitter chat called #FreelanceChat to help support freelancers in what can be a lonely journey. Since then, it’s grown to attract dozens of new participants and has been featured in Entrepreneur, MSN Money, and the Houston Chronicle. In 2024, the chat moved to YouTube

Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn

Grab your copy of Michelle's Book: B2B PR That Gets Results 

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.

Treasa Edmond:

I'll be honest, when I first started reading the question for today, I thought it was going to be a doozy and it is, but not in the way I thought. Today we're talking about what happens when you have clients who constantly hold up the projects by not getting you what you need. Michelle has some great feedback for this one. Let's not waste time. Let's get to the question. If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, Teresa 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 asked 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-hosts embrace their role as the boss of their business.

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome to Boss Responses. All right, we are back for day four, and today I'm flipping the tables and asking Michelle the question. So, Michelle. This says nightmare client story incoming. That always makes me shiver a bit. This is my third project with this client. They pay my rates without complaint, they love my work and they're great to work with All good things but they constantly hold the projects up by not getting me what I need, and then they want me to rush to finish the project on time. How can I address this before our next project? Yikes right.

Michelle Garrett:

Yeah, the quote that I'm going to refer back to poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine. Yes, that's the quote and I actually had to pull it up so I could read it just like it's written. But I've had this happen and it makes my life very difficult and if I love working with them, I think it's worth having a conversation and just, and not in a, you try to point out all the positives before you bring up the issue by saying, gosh, love working with you and I love that what we're doing together, and all the positives, and then say, but really to do my best work for you to deliver my best work, I would like to ask if we can do something about the timing with which you get me what I need to do the project. So I would be upfront about it.

Michelle Garrett:

And even if it's not a difficult conversation, if it's not a fun conversation to have, I think if it's a client that you want to have a relationship with and you want to have a good relationship with that, you should have that conversation and kind of maybe script out what you're going to say and what they might say. And then that's how I do it. I play it back and forth in my head. So, yeah, clients are perfectly fine and they understand and they're like, oh my gosh, I didn't realize this, we're doing this and this was causing these issues. And if they don't understand or they get upset or irritated or whatever, then it's good to have kind of a response in mind about what you might say, to go back and work with them.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, and with this one, I see two possible situations. One you did your due diligence up front, you told them how the process works and you set reasonable deadlines for both sides of the equation. If they are still late after that and holding you up, then yeah, jump on that conversation. Don't ever, ever be afraid to just have a conversation with your client. If they're doing something, probably without malice or forethought, that's really causing you issues. The other issue is if you didn't do that, if you have not set up clear terms of engagement in this relationship and you have not told them what the process is going to look like, and you have not told in order for me to do this by this day I need this from you by this day then you're actually the problem. I think the situation really depends on are you doing your client management, your communication, your onboarding of your client? Well, if you are and it's them then have an open, honest conversation on them or with them. Do not cast blame out there, just say this is what's happening, this is the result, this is what we can do to fix it, and then they either fall in line or they don't. Clients that you love and this sounds like one of those clients we all love will usually step up and do their part. If they don't, they will very quickly become a toxic client, because you give them an inch and they take a mile. You don't want to do that. If the problem is you, if you do not have a clearly defined process and your work depends on their work like with my ghostwriting.

Treasa Edmond:

I send chapters for review to my clients. I need those, especially the first few chapters, back so that I can see their feedback before I continue writing, because that saves me an immense amount of work as I go on. If I didn't hold them to those deadlines, that would be my problem. So if I didn't ever even tell them the deadlines and the book gets behind because I didn't, that's my problem. If I've clearly delineated that and you can bet I give them a schedule it's Teresa's due date, their due date, teresa's due date, their due date. It's all clearly laid out on there. That way, if either one of us gets behind, we know what's going on. We can fix it, we can revise, we know it's going to push the deadline out.

Treasa Edmond:

But that's on me, that is not on my client. I'm the expert, you're the expert. I'm sure it's the same thing with your PR clients. You are the expert, you know how long it's going to take. They don't, and if there's something that could hold that up, then you need to hold them accountable in a very businesslike and general way to do it. I think a lot of this falls back on the freelancers. I've had clients that have delayed and it's not a problem for me because I clearly stayed up front. If you do not respond by this date, the original project due date will not be able to be completed. I mean, I'm clear about that.

Michelle Garrett:

Yeah, and I do try to set up a timeline so that we both go over it and agree and talk through it, Because with PR it's really important because sometimes if they want an announcement to go out on a certain date, I have to do things before that, of course, to get that ready to go and we have to have everything done and approved and signed off and really 24 to 48 hours if you're going to issue something on a newswire or whatever, you have to have all that done. It's really important and I do agree that setting those expectations is important. But I have had clients that just cannot get their act together and they'll just be late getting me stuff and, yeah, sometimes it just has to be pushed back if they haven't given me enough time.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, yeah, and if they do that, it's on them at that point, because I've done my thing and I see this with PR, with clients. I'm working with that. I'm working with them to get a bylined article or an interview with a reporter and that reporter is writing the piece and they send it back for approvals and then it takes forever and the reporter is going to drop it. If they don't get it done, then a lot of your stuff, especially Michelle, is so time sensitive that they'll move on to the next person. It doesn't hurt them at all to do that, right, yep, so do your due diligence. I wouldn't I'm not sure I would call this a nightmare client story.

Treasa Edmond:

I would say it has the potential to be a nightmare client story Right now. It's a good client who's a bit unsure about life, so just guide them. That's all we can do. All right, come back and join us tomorrow for day five with Michelle. We are going to talk all about her business, how she got started and how she manages her clients, because PR is an interesting world. See you tomorrow.

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Client Management and Time Sensitivity

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