12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

I found this via UXMag.

It’s advice to freelance designers but it works in so many different arenas. Consulting is the obvious play, but think about this in terms of your politics at your corporation and even in your personal life. If you’ve coached soccer or anything, you’ll have at least 6 of the 12 types below as parents.

The twelve that he talks about with my own little summaries are:

1. The Low-Tech Client – This client is disoriented by tech and wants everything no the phone or fax.

2. The Uninterested Client – This client just wants you to handle everything.

3. The Hands-On Client – This client is disillusioned that they could do your job and will tell you so.

4. The Paranoid Client – This is the legal nighmare with NDAs and you fearing that you’ll be sued.

5. The Appreciative Client – This client is sugary coated suger with sugar filling. It’s not a bad life to be honest but don’t get used to it.

   <update>A comment was made offline that one should watch the Appreciative client to make sure that they are not a “Stab you in the back with their management” client…</update>

6. The Get-a-Good-Deal Client – This client never saw a price or deadline they couldn’t negotiate in their favor.

7. The I’ll-Know-It -When-I-See-It Client – This client will cause revision after revision after revision.

8. The Always-Urgent Client – This client thrives on drama and adrenalyn and everything is a fire.

9. The Decision-By- Committee Client – This client never saw a decision they could make.

10. The Doormat Client – This client lets you walk all over them.

11. The Budget Client – This client wants the same service for half the price. Similar to the Get-a-Good-Deal, but with less money.

12. The You-Should- Be-So-Lucky Client – This client will make sure that you know how lucky you are to be working for them and in the industry that they are in…

For each of these, he talks about How to Spot One, the Highs, Lows and How to Work With One.

For example, with the “Get a Good Deal Client”, the How to Spot One talks about always haggling over procing and promising more lwork later. The Highs talk about repeat and referral business but the Lows are that you are constantly having to negotiate and might get taken advantage of. In the How to Work With One section he talks about coming in high and being very assertive on points of payment and workload.

All of this is absolutely priceless advice. The reality is that in a corporation or contract of any size, you’re going to have a mix of some or all of the types above and you have to be ready to deal with that. You need to know who it is that actually writes the checks and who they have to report to. If your contact is an Appriciative, but their boss is an Always-Urgent, you need to know that and act appropritely. There’s no point in satisfying your contact if the checks are signed and decisions are made higher up.

The question is, can you name your boss’s type? What about your current contract?

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