Friday, November 27, 2009

Everybody says goodbye sooner or later.

But I think how you do it says a lot about you.

Like everybody who owns a business, I've had to fire people. You have to do it face-to-face. Like an adult. It's part of being grown-up.

So what is it with clients who tire of you, hate you, discover you're a hopeless hack of an agency, can't afford you or otherwise decide to end the relationship but can't seem to bring themselves to do it with any manners or class?

I can think of two in the last four years who simply stopped talking to us. You know, the way you did in junior high when you wanted to signal to someone that you were no longer in "like" with them?

One of them just let us wake up one Monday morning and see ads we had not done running in the paper. The other gave us some bogus (and pretty stupid) line about needing us to send him a document stating that he retained the copyrights to all the work we'd done for him. He said his "accountant" (WTF?) wanted it.

That was when we knew he was planning to end the relationship. We asked him flat-out if we'd lost his confidence and he felt he needed to make a change and he just as flat-out lied to us. "Oh no," he said. "We're very happy. This is just a formality." And then, when he got his letter, we pretty much never heard from him again. Except for his stalling and dragging out paying our last invoice.

Check that, he did have his son and number one flunky call us and ask us to send him some artwork they needed that we had already sent them but they had apparently lost or messed up somehow. Naturally, we never responded.

We still don't know we he dumped us.

You know what? We know we're going to lose clients. It's part of the business. It hurts usually, but as they say, you start to lose a client the minute you get them. And almost every client you get used to be someone else's, so what goes around comes around. I mean come on. We're all adults here.

I just don't understand why people can't be grown-up about the split. Here's something I think is true about us and most people I know in this business. Hire us and we're going to work hard for you and we're going to be honest and responsive and do our best. Pretty much all we ask in return is that you pay your bills on time and show us some professional respect. If we're doing something wrong, either tell us what it is and let us fix it, or tell us face-to-face that we're fired. That's not so hard to understand, is it?

Exactly why it occurred to be to write about this the day after Thanksgiving I couldn't begin to tell you. But I love the illustration I came up with to go with it.

Don't you?

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