136 – Standing up to clients

In this episode:

Discussion – Standing up to clients (but not the big scary ones)

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In this episode David and I talk about the (sometimes unpleasant) interactions which we have with clients.

Most of the time (I hope) we have good relations with our clients. They want to work with you and you want to work with them… but this does not mean that you’re always going to see eye to eye with them.

From time to time you’re going to have to face up to a client who is not wanting to work with your processes and it not willing to be flexible. Obviously, this works in reverse too, and sometimes it’s us that needs to take a step back and consider the way that we’re behaving.

Whatever the case may be, this is the subject of our discussion today and it’s an interesting chat.

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I should start by saying that it’s important that we understand that we work in an industry which is almost completely incomprehensible to most people. The things that we take for granted are just nonsense to our clients. I’m talking about divs, UI, Javascript, WordPress and a whole lot more. We’ve been working with it for years and so it’s second nature to us, but to the majority of our clients – not so much! I think of it like this… if I go to the mechanic for a repair to my car, I have no idea what they’re going on about. I’m trusting that the stuff that they say needs doing, does in fact need doing. I do not understand any of the words that the mechanic throws around. And it’s the same for our clients and I think that this is an important baseline to start from – understand that your client does not have the expertise that you do and modify your expectations and language accordingly.

In order to tackle this subject we break our clients up into some broad groups:

The Stalker

Your new best friend who picks up the phone before even reading the first line of an email. The simplest instructions need to be turned into a social occasion. They really see this as a personal service. They have too high an expectations of after care.

The Unresponsive

Just goes silent and reappears weeks later ignoring all that happened before.

The Alpha

Seem to push too hard to show they are above you in the relationship. Joke put downs that are hard to challenge. Reminders of it being their money.

The Know it all (including the one with the nephew who does IT)

Embarrassing show off, making it hard to have adult conversations. Do you pull them up on their ignorance or support them even if they might not deserve it?

The Underminer (or distractor)

Look at the wrong stuff and picks out issues that side track the conversation.

The Shirker

Someone who passes the buck to someone else… “Yeah, not had a reply from them”, “Yeah this is being done by Janice in accounts”.

The Non Payer

Forgetful/conveniently busy.

The Visionary

They are going to build a social media platform to change history…. Today.

Next week they may be threatening to stop working with you because you cannot keep up.

Clearly some of this is a little tongue in cheek, but it’s a good conversation to have – helping you to realise that you’re not the only one who has had to deal with this in the past.

It’s easy feel that you ought to be able to get along with all-the-people all-the-time. But reality shows otherwise. It might be that some of these people are better suited to you than others and if you detect one of these “types”, you might need to think through carefully how to deal with them.

Another really interesting chat about how you can run your WordPress website business.

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Now welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast once more. This is episode number 136 and titled Standing Up to clients. It was published on Thursday the 11th of July, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and word.co dot. UK, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I will be joined in about five or so minutes time by David Waumsley from David Waumsley.com so that we can have our bi weekly chat in this case talking about standing up to clients. But a couple of things before we do that, if I could encourage you to go over to the WP Builds.com website and use the links at the top. The first one I'm going to mention is WP Builds.com. Forward slash subscribe over there. You'll be able to subscribe to our newsletters. We've got one telling you all about the podcast episodes coming up, plus the WordPress weekly news and also, uh, an email list which will allow you to receive deal updates the moment we hear about them.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:21 On that page, you'll also be able to subscribe to us on apple podcast, Google podcast and whatever podcast player using plus join our 2000 plus strong Facebook group where we're always talking about WordPress and the things that you can achieve or the struggles that you're having with it. WP Builds.com forward slash deals for a whole bunch of discount codes off WordPress plugins and themes and so on. It's a bit like black Friday, but every day of the week cause there's quite a lot of stuff over there. So if you're in the market for some WordPress stuff, go and check it out. WP Builds.com forward slash webinars if you would like to see the webinars that we've got coming up or the webinars that we've had in the past and WP Builds.com forward slash advertise if you would like to advertise your product or service on WP Builds. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by the page builder framework.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:15 Do you use a page builder to create your websites? The page builder framework is a mobile responsive, enlightening, fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder, elemental breezy, and other page builders with its endless customization options in the WordPress customizer. It's the perfect fit for you or your agency. Go to WP dash page builder framework.com today and we thank all of our sponsors for helping keep the WP Builds podcast going right to this week, David and I chatting about standing up to clients. This is a really interesting chat. I genuinely enjoyed recording this one very, very much because in it we come up with some categories. We categorize clients that we've got, for example, we call them the stalker, the unresponsive, the Alpha, the know-it-all. And so it goes and we talk about how it is that we interact with clients even when they don't necessarily want to, to do what we require them to do or they wish to us for us to do what they require them to do and not work within our processes and so on. So you'll get to know what David and I think about this and I hope that you enjoy it.

David Waumsley: 03:24 Hello, this discussion we're calling standing up to clients, but obviously not the big scary ones because both you and Nathan the cow. What's really, um, thing to say right at the outset, actually we are both very cowardly. This is your topic. I think it's a really good one because when you think about it, we're in the service industry, so we are fair game for that kind of subtle form of bullying that you find in, in the, those kind of industries. And it's something you know to know what I've no experience of that until I started making client websites because all the jobs I had, they weren't serviced. I didn't have to serve anybody, didn't have really any expectations on me. So yeah, this is good and we know it exists that way cause you only need to read through the Facebook groups and things like clients from hell to realize that there is times when you just need to stand up to clients.

David Waumsley: 04:16 Yes. The, the thing about this, which is interesting because we, it's very rare in real life you like, you know, your social circles or whatever, wherever it is that you meet people in the real world, it's very rare I think to sort of actually fall out and argue with people. But for some reason this environment, this whole work environments particularly websites does seem to just seem to bring out the conflict in people because you're offering something which is quite ephemeral. You're offering something which very often I believe there's a disconnect between what the client thinks is your role and what you think is your role. And so there's a lot of, there's a lot of points where it can go wrong. I think, again, little caveat right at the beginning, we're not, we're not sort of trying to say that we've got the right answer, but what we are going to do is talk about, um, situations, I suppose, personalities, different types of people that we, that we might have encountered before and, and how they've behaved towards us and, and so on. It goes back a little bit to an episode that we did a while ago where we talked about different personality types and it feels a little bit like that. So should we dive right in?

David Waumsley: 05:24 Yeah, absolutely. But you know what, I'll just add on to that because what you just said was great, I thought. And um, do you think there's a little bit of the fact that the guard is up because we do stuff that's, we talking Gobbledygook, so you know, clients or they going to be slightly mischief?

David Waumsley: 05:40 All of us. Yeah. I mean also just the complete disconnect with what we know and what, yeah, what they don't know. You know, for example, if I walk into a mechanics now, clearly at this point you've got all got to recognize that I know nothing about cars. You may very well know a lot about cars and walk into a mechanic, but the analogy is is, is worth mentioning. And the mechanic begins talking. I have no idea what he's on about. Literally none. I understand that there are pedals, but beyond that and there's a steering wheel and that's about it. Uh, it's complete nonsense to me. And so, but interestingly, just, just my approach is just a nod and go, oh yeah, right. Yeah, yeah. Or that sounds bad. You know, and then obviously, you know, you shell out a load of money and reluctantly drive it away ticket or I have no idea if any of that was true.

David Waumsley: 06:31 And sometimes, you know, I've been to mechanics before and I've very much left with the impression, I wonder, I just want you to know what I've paid for that. I just no idea if the any of that was true or any of that was actually what was wrong or did they, did they just perform a whole load of work that was utterly without merit? So I think that's where we're coming from a little bit. You know, we've got this, we've got this job, we understand it, we know what we're doing, and yet the clients will approach us expecting us to deliver something, expecting us to walk them through it. We may not be prepared to do that. We may have expectations of things that they'll deliver to us, which they never knew they ought to deliver, but also this don't understand the technology. Yeah, absolutely. Well, this is interesting. So the types of clients that we may need

David Waumsley: 07:18 to stand up to. The first one is probably the opposite of that. We've named it the stalker. So this, there's the client who suddenly becomes your best friend and slightly to pick up the phone even before we didn't, the first line of an email that you sent them. So simplest instructions need to turn into some social occasion. That's the kind of person we're talking about,

David Waumsley: 07:37 right? You've got to deal with this one first because I've got a different attitude to this one, I think. Yeah, well I mean the, I probably see it in a slightly too high expectation of aftercare as well. I get that. I don't think I've, I don't think I've ever made myself attractive to anybody enough to have that. I'm just not that friendly or sociable like this or successful with her delivering client services anyway. But no. So yeah. What should I go on with my way of, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So when I have at is really, I've, I've looked, because I'm pretty quick to respond to anything that comes into me, so I've learned to slow down my response rate because I've learned that people will probably sort out the thing for themselves if you're not available. So I've done that and my other get out was just my change your business really moving into hourly rates and kind of making everything slightly my services into products. So I copped out a bit on that one,

Nathan Wrigley: 08:39 I think. I think they're slowing it down though in response to that is really intelligent because you don't have to, you don't have to snub anybody. You don't have to actually go out of your way to say, look, there's a problem here. Please will you stop writing so many emails or batch them once a week. You've literally a slowly by a process of attrition made them make them stop. Um, and I think that's a very intelligent nonconfrontational way of doing it. Have to say, the reason my answer is a very different to yours is because I don't honestly think I've had too much of this. The only time I've ever really experienced this was at moments of crisis where the, maybe there was a miscommunication or there's a deadline coming up or something has actually gone wrong, like the server has died or something like that. And so the emails start to come at an unreasonable rate given a normal day, but probably at a reasonable rate given the situation that was, that was unfolding. So I've not really had to deal with this, but I like your solution of just slowing down the response rate that just seems the absolute foil to it. Unless of course they live down the road and come knocking on your door.

David Waumsley: 09:51 You know what we've called this, done it up to clients. But I reckon all of our answers are going to be the same. We don't, yeah, yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:57 No, but that is, that is, it's in a very passive way that is standing up to clients. You are, you are altering the way that the interaction happens, but you're doing it in a very, what I think is an intelligent and non confrontational way. Yeah. That's, I think that's good. And so the next one is the unresponsive. Um, somebody that just goes silent. Um, but then reappears weeks later, ignoring all that happen before, uh, you know, I think, I think this is totally normal. I think this is like to be expected and although we don't like it and waiting, but then we're being the stalker, aren't we? We want to be able to send them an email and get a very swift response at the moment that we send it. Right. I've uh, I've got my pdf proofs ready for you. Here they are. Come on, come on, come on. We're waiting for reply please. So we've become the stock. I think this is really normal because everybody's got their own life. We, even though we are being paid by them to do their website, you know, we're part of a wider agenda. They've got stuff to do, family life to lead stuff going on in the evenings work, which is no doubt, stressful and full of pressure. And I think, I think we have to allow some of this now obviously align at some point has to be drawn. Um, if you're doing a project, you can't have everything being stymied, but I think we have to give them some slack but, but I don't know what that happy medium is obviously in your own business based upon the cash flow that's going through and the amount of people literally sitting around in your office twiddling thumbs because somebody cannot respond. It's going to be different, but as I said on previous episodes, I've always caught something else that I can be getting on with. So for me, rather than twiddle my thumbs, I'll just move onto the next thing, do that until it becomes a bit ridiculous and I don't know what that is, but I usually put a note in the calendar for a week or two weeks or whatever it will be. And then if that note comes back to me and I haven't managed to get anything back, then I'll, I'll become the stalker.

David Waumsley: 11:58 Yes. I've had to learn to deal with this and I'm, I'm getting a lot. calmer. I liked your answer. I think that's the perfect answer. We just got to expect it, haven't we? Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:07 Yeah. Everybody's life is, is busy. Yeah, I guess.

David Waumsley: 12:13 But you know what? All my previous work, I'm just used to sending an email out and kind of expecting one to bounce back in a few minutes. Yeah. Really in almost everything I've done

Nathan Wrigley: 12:22 comes to the, the, the way that it's all set out right at the beginning of the project, isn't it? You know, if you, if you go in with a very serious approach of, look, we're going to send you a whole bunch of emails, this is the timeline, we're going to stick to it. We want you to stick to it. Otherwise things are going to break and this, you know, deadlines were, then maybe you've, you've, you've framed it in such a way that they will reply, but I'm, you know, you know me,

David Waumsley: 12:49 I've started doing the few client videos that they can have before we start projects. And one of those is I'm trying to focus them on how they can get more value out of us by getting stuff ready and, and how they can communicate with us. So I'm hoping to sort of shove the ideas up front so they can understand how we were just trying to help them rather than pressurize them.

Nathan Wrigley: 13:11 I think so, yeah. I think another important consideration here also is to think about the person involved in this process with you. You know, is the person that you're communicating with, do they actually have autonomy to make those decisions? And that's one of the things I always try to do is I always try to make sure that the bond person that I talk to is the person that can answer. But let's say let's, that didn't work out. And that person themselves felt caught in a bit of a sandwich. You the, you, the website builder and they're in the middle because there's their boss on the other side that might have implications, you know, they're unable to say yes. And so they feel a bit trapped. So they, they go around the committee and things don't get answered in a timely way to them. So then they can't report back to you and, and so it goes. And uh, so that's, that's just another, another thought on that basis. Really.

David Waumsley: 13:58 Yeah. Yeah. The next one, the Alpha. So this is just someone who's trying to sort of position themselves above you and the relationship. Maybe they'll do a few jokey put downs or remind you that it's their money, that kind of stuff. Yeah. I've written a rude word. Uh, he, you have, I saw, you know, I'm not gonna repeat that rude word, but basically I've, yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:20 Did this kind of person is so the antithesis of me, I, I struggle, you know, but we've all been there. We've, we've encountered people who are very much used to getting what they want. There they are, the Alpha, whether that's, you know, in everything that they do or in their business, they, they get what they want. They're the boss. Everybody jumps there, get it yesterday. They expect it yesterday. They expect everybody to figure out what they're going to want before they've done it. And I think this is really difficult. Um, I don't, I don't really, I don't really mind it too much in the sense that I can usually find my way around it. You know, a bit of comedy or laughing things off or just sort of going, oh yeah, or whatever. But I am, I don't, I, I d the, these are the ones that I find the most difficult to work with. There's a, there's a great story that I want to throw in here that's got nothing to do with WordPress and I'll keep it really short. And it was all about a moment where I believe Steve jobs was probably this alpha. Now, whether he was a nice person or a nasty person, I don't know. But apparently upon releasing the iPhone prior to releasing the iPhone, they needed to source a ton of glass and they needed to source more glass than had ever been sourced before of this particular kind. And, um, turns out it's this stuff called gorilla glass. And so they got the, the guys over from the gorilla glass company to come to the apple headquarters where it was at the time. And, and they sat down and, and Steve Jobs started espousing to these guys from the gorilla glass company. I can't remember what they called Corning or something like that. Um, what they needed. And this guy listened. There was Steve, the Alpha male giving it all this. And eventually, apparently the guy just stood up and said, Steve, just shut up. You can, everything you've said is rubbish. You're just used to being, you're used to hearing your own voice. You're used to telling people that this is what you, what's going to happen. And that then apparently just turned it all around and said, look, this is what's possible. This is what's going to happen, this is what can be delivered. We're the best at it. There you go. Take it or leave it. And apparently he did.

David Waumsley: 16:26 Wow. Interesting that, yeah, that's pretty interesting because you know, dealing with the kind of apple nail, I can't say I've had it in this industry, but I know other people have, but I've certainly, I've come across it in my other work and I've got the opposite approach to this. So basically what worked there was that making this sumption that the Alpha was just very confident in used to getting their own way because people just naturally, um, saw them as a leader. So I've, I felt it the opposite. The, I've seen a lot of the Alphas as the probably insecure type. So my approach it, yeah. Yeah. It's the opposite, which is to remove myself as the threat. That and that, again, it's using your trick, really comedy. I remember somebody who, um, I moved to group, so I was the manager and I have it to this step and one person in there I, you could just tell they just didn't like that, but in like this new boss coming in and they would just really trying to Alpha over me particularly on what they'd achieved and how much they earn and all of that. And it went swimmingly well because I just kind of removed myself and choked and just really boosted up then and took away me being a threat to them. Cause my goal wasn't to get one over them and boss them. My role was just to support them. So, and uh, yeah, so the Alpha male was dealt with. So it's interesting. We've got two alpha males, don't we say male with a female as well?

Nathan Wrigley: 17:50 Yeah, we only wrote the Alpha, didn't we? Interestingly, there's like this quite a lot of marketing done around this idea of framing where, you know, you walk into a room and you sort of like, you take the frame as it were. I can't remember the exact terminology. In other words, you go into the room and you make it very clear that you are this, you are this character, you are the Alpha and everybody is to regard you as the center of things. And, um, I've always, I've always found, I've always been a bit skeptical of that in my life. Let's make that very clear. Um, I am not entering these major boardrooms and I'm sure that where the stakes are that there's a ton of Alphas in the same room. Maybe that's, well, I'm sure that strategy pays enormous dividends, but it's, it's never worked for me and I've always taken the same approach as you, which is that the person trying to do that? Um, I just find it a little bit awkward frankly. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 18:37 Yeah. Have you ever felt bullied before?

Nathan Wrigley: 18:44 Um, I only, I think only in one passing sentence, you know, and then it's over. You know, they've said something a bit condescending or, but you're supposed to do this kind of thing. And, and then like I say, humor or something, wounds the way. Oh, you know, you take it on the Chin and say, yeah, probably should have done that. Okay. Sorry. I'll get on with it. Whatever it might be. No, I've never had a consistent pattern of that. Um, no, not really. No. Can't say no. No. I think we deal with things in the same way. I think that's it, isn't it? Well, I think age and confidence really after some point, yes. You kind of throw these things off fairly easily, I think, but yeah, but it would be horrible if your business was, was inundated with these kinds of people who were constantly sort of pushing you around and getting you to do things that you weren't willing to do.

David Waumsley: 19:32 And, and the, the financial drawstring that they had on you was so tightly wound around your business that you, you had to listen to what they said and you were always drawn into it. And how to just become subservient. That that would be very unpleasant, I think. Yeah. Do you know what? I think that's probably why I can get out of that, because they won't have that financial hold over me because really any jobs I do with kind of small enough for me to say, okay, I'll, I'll just lose that buy. And that means you, you're empowered, aren't you? Through that. And I also think that personality type probably knows that they've got you, you know, we've signed the contract. This is worth, let's say that you're a big agency. This, this project is worth, I don't know, $80,000 or something like that. Then you've got, I suppose, expect a certain amount of that because they've got you by the short and curlies as they say in the UK.

David Waumsley: 20:22 You know, should we do the next one? Yeah, yeah. The know it all, which I've included the one who has a nephew who does it. Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. He, and therefore he knows about printers. He knows about the internal workings of computers. He can operate in neural networks, you know, fixed them in Mac. He knows about Ella mentor and page builders and WordPress. Yeah. We've, um, we've all been there, to be honest with you. I think there were, there was a time in my younger life, much younger when I probably exhibited certain characteristics of this, not because I, I wanted to be a know it all because I was ashamed not to know it all. If, you know, it's in me, you know, I'd go to like website meetings and they would ask me if I knew how to do this and a certain level of, Oh, I'm the expert in the room at this.

David Waumsley: 21:13 Yeah, I'm pitching a website, aren't I? Goodness me, I sh that's a reasonable question. I should know how to do that. And rather than saying, I will go and find out because regrettably I've not done that before. I'm not sure how to do that kind of, uh, looking back on it with a bit of embarrassment and I'm going red as I say this. Uh, yeah, I'd, I'd often say, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, goodness. Yeah, I can, sure I can do that. That's absolutely fine. Which is, uh, yeah, no, I think I could recognize that as well in myself. I was thinking more though with this one with the, they, the kind of person who, you know, they've learned a little bit so they start to talk to you about your job and suggest what you might be able to do. But you know, it's kind of completely off really.

David Waumsley: 21:55 They've misinterpreted it, leaving you in the embarrassing situation of either having to correct what they're saying. Yup. Or kind of lead it into a make sense. I've definitely come across people like this, you know, and it's sat through some meetings before. It's pretty clear that it's just in every sphere. It's got nothing to do with technology. You know, they, it's a bit like the Alpha really. You know, they're lording it over there, their business and, and everything that they say has to be the rule and that they're obviously very wise and, and you can sort of pick up the vibe that everybody realizes that this is the way it is. But my rule of thumb here is, is in order to maintain a steady ship is to, uh, is to never embarrass them. Just be very mindful of how you speak to them. Cause these people I think are very easily offended and you know, you can turn something very quickly around by questioning them.

David Waumsley: 22:47 In other words, if you go for the well that's not right. That's a load of rubbish. That's not how you'd do it. Then you've kind of put them in a position of looking like a fool, which is the single thing. That's probably what they don't want. They want to look authoritative all the time. So just be mindful of how I speak to them. Again, humor, self deprecation, being mindful of what the words that I choose and when to shut up and let them speak and nod knowingly and sometimes even exchange. Um, you know the occasional glance with people on the opposite side of the table as we knowingly wink at each other knowing that we are both thinking this exact same thing but best to keep it quiet.

David Waumsley: 23:28 Yeah, I do. You know what? I think you do a little bit of what I would do to sort of correct it. Sometimes, you know, if Fussy, it's a bit of insecurity and they need to just sort of project that they know something and it's you, I notice you do that. You even do it with me, which is your, your time may be correct what's be said. And you'll attribute the, the good stuff to them so you make them feel good about, so you of turn it around to what it really is your idea. But uh, you know, put it in a nice way that the gives them attribution for it. So I tend to do that a bit. Yeah. Jay, do you know what's really interesting about this as well? I'm not talking clearly, I'm not talking about you and I am, I promise you I'm not trying to, I am not thinking about anybody apart from a particular client. They, they also take that the wrong way. You know, if you, if you sort of self deprecatingly say something along the lines of, Oh yeah, I should have, I should have really realized that, you know, they'll literally pounce on that sentence. Yes, you should have. All right.

David Waumsley: 24:33 It was a foil. I was trying to save you from embarrassment. Oh, oh bless. Sorry I've interrupted. I definitely, I think I've seen a sign of that quite recently. I guess everybody's had something like that where the client goes ahead or a friend of the client goes ahead and maybe checks a Google score or something and tells you how you could perhaps improve the speed of your site or something, you know, not really understanding that it is not measuring speed or something like that. Yeah. Misunderstandings in technology are so easy to do, aren't they? You know, it's a bit like me walking into a mechanics and having a very brief and vague understanding of our car would work. I could make some judgements based upon what I see, but very likely it's wrong, but it's easy to do, you know, especially with things like Google analytics or SEO and things and um, yeah, yeah.

David Waumsley: 25:27 Intriguing stuff. So that's the, um, that's the no at all. Oh, let's hope we don't get too many of those in the near future, the underminer or distractor. So I'm someone who's kind of looking at the wrong stuff or picking out issues that kind of side track conversations. Yeah. I don't like the way that pure and simple. I don't like this. I think there are people who do that and I don't, I don't understand this, you know, we're trying to get to the, trying to get to the same goal aren't we? We're trying to build your website, but there are people who for goodness knows what reason, just wants to find fault in everything. You know that's not right. That's not right. And you know on it goes and you send back revisions and that's not right. That's not right. And I don't know, it's like the when we were writing the show notes for this, I kind of feel like it's like death by a thousand paper cuts, if you know what I mean.

David Waumsley: 26:21 Yes. And it can, it can be very dispiriting and demoralizing and a bit soul destroying. And this kind of thing happens. And again, what can you do if that's their personality? You can pick up on it so fast and you've, I guess you've just got to kind of fudge your way through it and hope that you can win them round, altering the process so that you send things off all in one big lumps or there's not so of an opportunity. Don't get caught in the trap of sending things one at a time so that they can then criticize them one at a time. That's always helpful.

David Waumsley: 26:51 Yeah, exactly. And this that sometimes you know with more, with the distractor side of that there's the that they are usually on the wrong point or you don't know the priorities of what's the big deal for them. You know, it's just lots of stuff. I don't know why I'll confess here. I think that there's a lot of me in this. I, I used to do this, I think when I was a kind of younger manager in my organization without big meetings and something was going to be put forward and we needed to give our views. I think I would always find tons and tons of issues with everything. So like I suspect I am one of these kind of people and that, I mean you came out of slightly, uh, just showing off that I knew stuff, you know, all the know it all as well. Yeah, I've got a bit of that and yeah.

David Waumsley: 27:39 And um, but not, not pre, I guess often some of those, sometimes I wanted to get right back to the beginning of something and then I didn't really express that. So sometimes I'd be picking lots of falls. But ultimately what I was trying to say is that you're not just thinking this whole thing through in the wrong direction. And that's what I'd not say. So I'd end up picking out lots of little issues. Yeah. So, yeah. Uh, you know, I'm interested when I see somebody else doing that, I've stopped doing that. Of course. Now I've grown up a bit, but yeah. No you haven't,

David Waumsley: 28:09 you're still doing. Um, he said undermining David the, the thing about this one, I think it's a bit of a process thing. I do think that if you get the process right, like I said earlier, you know your time things so that you send them off in ways which afford you the best chance of combating there undermining and undermining Enos. If that's a word, which clearly it isn't, um, then that's probably a good way of doing, you know, batch things together, put them all in one, go do it on a Friday. So they've got time over the weekend to look at it and get all their bits or you know, whatever works in your business. I think a process thing can kind of often get, get rid of the underminer and um, and that's all I've got on the minors.

David Waumsley: 28:53 Yeah, I think so. Maybe there's another thing as well in there, but we're generally dealing with one person, so maybe this doesn't count, but some people when it comes to kind of meetings and, and undermining, cause they kind of want to stretch these things out. They enjoy doing this, they like looking for the problems and getting more involved in the end, the project. So it may be some of the underminers that's, that's me. That's who I was. I was one of those. Okay. So here's another,

David Waumsley: 29:17 there's another spin on the undermine. I think maybe they're right. Maybe, maybe it is that they've undermined you legitimately and you know, they've, they've thought really long and hard about this and the stuff that you're, you're sending out is actually not what they're expecting, not what they wanting sub par. So I suppose rather than always going from the point of view that we're writing your wrong Mr client, maybe, maybe we need to listen to the underminer a bit and go all selves and actually think, hmm, okay, I've been undermined a lot there. Maybe I need to be a bit more thoughtful about what I've actually put out and go back and look at it with it, with a fresh pair of eyes. Maybe. I'm not saying, I'm not saying it's always the case, but maybe once in a while if the client is right. Yeah, we have to run it anyway.

David Waumsley: 30:00 Don't, yeah, of course. Get on board. Whatever they say. So that's, Yep. That's the shirker. Oh, someone always passes the book to someone else. Um, you know, there's always some excuse. Somebody hasn't replied to them so they can't do their thing next. Okay. I'm, I, I have, I have this one I think mostly nailed for myself, which, because I'm working by myself, I can do this. If you're in an agency and whatnot, I know it's not the solution for you, but my solution is forwards, own neat. Know that I can't count David. It's for words. Oh, I feel bad. I only speak to one person. That's my solution to that. If you just talk to the one person, even if they're a shirker, at least they're passing the buck on their side of things and I don't have to deal with that mess. They can be shirking as much as they want.

David Waumsley: 30:47 So long as I get what I want from them, I'm okay. Yeah. Then suddenly WP Builds listeners. I've got nothing more because mine is exactly the same answer, isn't it? We just both deal with one person. So I don't know how anybody deals with this when they've got that situation. Well I'll do it. It's quite common. You know, people who literally just can't be bothered to get on with the stuff that they said they would do. Um, but again comes back to what I said earlier. I've always got other things that I can be getting on with and timelines and milestones and you know, late payment fees and all that. Probably come in at some point as well just to bolster it a little bit than, aw, this next one. Now this, this, this can hurt. This can actually ruin your business. The non payer, those who are either, you know, um, forgetful or absent minded who don't do it on purpose, uh, or those who are conveniently busy, perhaps literally doing it deliberately.

David Waumsley: 31:43 Um, I've definitely had clients who just were habitual in not paying until I sent like the second warning, the third warning, you know, to the point where I knew that that was the protocol. I'll send it. Okay. I know they're not going to do anything and I'll send it again. I know that I, I'll send it again. Well, as a fighting chance this time, because this one says your website's services are in jeopardy of being switched off. So, okay. They'll probably pay this one and it comes, you know, it's just, yeah. Just so people do this stuff deliberately. What's your take for nonpayment? Yeah, I've got, I've opted out mostly because I'm taking all the money up front with the build day, so I got out of that one. But you know, I still let it slip with the existing clients. You know, they, if they want a job doing, then I'll start doing it and then say, please, you know, ordered bucket or pay this and I'm waiting again.

David Waumsley: 32:35 Hmm. Well, when I said earlier that I've got this one client is by no means the norm for me. This is again, it's like a process thing. Take a deposit, set the milestones, uh, enforce those in time if you need to. Um, otherwise, you know, uh, be flexible in the way that I've described. I've not really had this too much, but I do not like it when it happens. I have a mate, I'm not gonna tell you what he does or anything like that, but I've got a mate who, who, whose business literally survives sometimes by the skin of its teeth. It's got nothing to do with the web by the way, by the skin of its teeth because of late payment from other people. You know, he has sizable amounts of money that he, uh, invoices out. Um, but then structure of his businesses that he has to bear that cost up front.

David Waumsley: 33:20 That's just the nature of what it is. And so if he does this two or three times, he can be in debt for massive amounts of money. And if people don't pay up, it's curtains for him. And it's been very close on a couple of occasions. And I've, I felt his pain because of people I think deliberately in his case, just not, not paying him. Um, which is, which is horrible. I hope that anybody listening to this doesn't have too much of this cause it of all the ones that we've talked about, this I think can cause the most anxiety in the real world and it's horrible.

David Waumsley: 33:53 Yeah, I've got absolutely. My brother nearly lost his business through this, you know, from pain because the big contracts and money, so I'm full. We're fortunate, aren't we? I mean, in fact to the point where I, you know, I've not even made it an issue. I've got used to the fact that some people won't pay me and it as if it's a small job, which it generally is and I just wait until they approach me next time and go, yeah, that's fine, but you just do need to pay the last one. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 34:16 Also a way to sort of offload this from yourself in a way is if, if, if you can, if your bank balance is capable of weathering this is to automate all this process, you know, to these things like freshbooks, which will literally send out the reminders on autopilot so that you don't have to think about this. And although that's clearly not a solution for actually getting the money, it is a solution for the anxiety of looking at this stuff all the time and think about it. So long as you can be in a position where you are, you're in the black whilst you ride out that nonsense. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 34:48 So basically get robots to stand up for us.

David Waumsley: 34:51 That's right. Yeah. Robots with laser beams in their eyeballs. That's what we need. There you go. I've designed Boston dynamics and latest toy, right? The next one, the vision. Oh my goodness me. The visionary. Oh. Um, this is our last one, which is perfect because it's about the right time. So these are the people who want to build a social media platform to change history and they want it done today. Um, next week they may be threatening to jump up the highest public building that they can find. Yeah. Tell us about visionaries. You've, you set this up beautifully, David, in a single word.

David Waumsley: 35:29 Oh Gosh. Yes. Well, yeah, I do meet them, don't we? And we still hear from other peer. Actually I haven't had one of these for a long time. I feel a bit disappointed really. I, uh, but certainly in the earlier days everybody was going to build the next Facebook and they weren't. And I got an opportunity to be involved.

David Waumsley: 35:48 Really. Oh, I see. You go on.

David Waumsley: 35:53 There was always an opportunity when there were these big things here. But yeah, there was only one really. The only way I can stand up is to, it's to not stand up, but just to run the opposite direction. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 36:05 What is wrong? Um, yeah. And it's always, I think people have wised up on the Internet because I used to get, I mean, I was never in a date by these, but I definitely got a handful of these ridiculous notions over time. And very often it was couched in terms of we'll, we'll all have read these before, you know, in terms of the, um, the, the, the great favor that was being done to me by being selected as the person that they were gonna build this platform with. You know, because it was clear that it was going to be a great success and it was only a matter of building it and they will come. And the, the one thing that comes into my mind is I have this guy, this is such a, oh, it pains me. So this is going back about 10 years ago I had a guy phone up and he was a musician and he wanted his website.

David Waumsley: 36:51 So this is 10 years ago. Bear in mind is no html five it was like, you know, I think we were still using tables a little bit, maybe not. But anyway, he wanted, he wanted to give me a load of songs and then he wanted the website to look like kind of like a bit like a castle. Right. Oh this is such a good story Lloyd. It looked a bit like a castle and you would, the home page would be this castle and you would enter the castle and, and you would, it would be animated. It would be literally like playing a like Minecraft or something. You'd go down the corridor. I don't even know how you would've done this. Um, and then to left and right would be further doors and as you opened up the doors, you would hear his arms. So, um, so I, I, you know, it was very, very earnest spillover.

David Waumsley: 37:37 He'd obviously, you know, he really thought that this was possible. And, um, and then we got to the, the whole, you know, the, the budget and whatnot, and I can't even remember, but it was something ridiculous, like 800 pounds. And so I at that point just sort of said, look, you know, I'm, I can't do this for you, but maybe if you can find another three or 400,000, um, you know, somebody will, um, somebody will be able to build this for you. And, and as you can imagine, that was the, uh, that was the last time I ever heard from him.

David Waumsley: 38:11 Do you know, there was someone in the group report in a very similar situation. They were vague. They wanted to be kind back to them as well. They had a great, wonderful idea. And do you, do you generally follow these things through? You don't do kind of give them some, no, I don't mean in the sense of giving them some real good feedback about how they might, perhaps you don't need to, that's all you need to give them. Is, is the, the the true cost that, yeah, no,

David Waumsley: 38:36 I would always, I'm so not inundated with, you know, thousands of these things. So it's not difficult for me to write. I'll always write a rub, a nice polite reply, you know, I'll say something like, look, sadly this is, this is really far beyond the scope of, you know, I'm imagining that somebody came to me to ask me to do this today. I still couldn't do it. Um, I would just say something along those, look, I'm so, so sorry to say that I can't help you with this. It's absolutely beyond what, what your budget can cope with or what my level of expertise is. But you know, best of luck. But I'm not gonna I'm not gonna recommend them to anybody cause it's, it's folly isn't it? They just need to be told. I think this is not going to happen.

David Waumsley: 39:16 Yeah. Well I think he's probably on my way probably getting out of those kinds of things and th my brother would be, you know, this is way too big for somebody like me again going against me out of anything like that. Yeah.

David Waumsley: 39:29 But this, this could be a minor thing. It doesn't have to be, something's quite so ludicrous as I've just talked about it. You know, it could be something where the vision is just beyond your reach and some people are, you know, their minded to take the stuff on and go for it. Other people are minded to look. That's beyond what I think I can learn in the time that's available to me or the budget that you've offered. And so I'm going to pass this up and you've got to just decide, haven't your, for yourself, what suits your own business and what have you. So there we are, we've done it, we've cracked through yet another sort of psychological breakdown of clients. I feel like I go need to go and lie down and talk to somebody on a, on a coke on a couch. Yes. I certainly do. Yeah, right. Should we, um, should we knock on the head? Indeed. Okay. Thanks David. Good bye. A lovely conversation. Bye Bye. But

Nathan Wrigley: 40:21 well, I hope that you enjoyed that podcast is always fascinating. Chatting to David Wamsley. We've got some very interesting ideas coming out of this week's episode, most notably how to categorize clients. Fabulous. Really enjoyed that. And I, I genuinely do hope that some of that rung a bell and it made you think, okay, it's not just me who doesn't always get on with clients. It's not just me who struggles from time to time. It is, it is most of us, and it's probably because all of our clients are different and we engage better with some than we do with others. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP&UP one in four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness, WP and up supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community. This is achieved through mentorship, events, training, and counseling. Please help enable WP&UP by visiting WP&UP.org forward. Slash. Give.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:21 Okay. I hope that you're enjoying the podcast. It's always very nice when you leave some comments. Join our Facebook group over at WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook to continue the conversation. We'll be back here next Thursday with a new podcast episode, or we've got two things which come out every Monday. If you want to subscribe, you can listen to our news article. It's about 15 to 20 minutes where I sum up the WordPress, a weekly news in audio form, and also at 2:00 PM on the same Monday that that comes out. I do a Facebook live with some, some special guests in the WP Builds Facebook group, and you can join us and you know, get involved with the chat and chat with us about the WordPress weekly news. Okay. Until then, I will say bye bye for now. And here comes some cheesy music.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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