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Thread: Get used to it, especially from international customers

  1. #1
    Chemical Engineer
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    San Jose, Costa Rica

    Thumbs up

    Ok, so you don't actually get an introductory "interview meeting" to sell your services. You have to give customers your sales pitch over IM or email, or worse yet, start work on a project and have the customer cut you off at the legs midstream, without a cent in the bank...Been there, done that. Now comes the fun stuff, how to deal with your next customer in a RESPECTFUL and UNBIASED attitude, so as to not "place the blame" on him/her, and how to protect yourself from people that would otherwise screw you over (sorry, tried to look for a more respectful way to say this).

    #1-It's all in the sale. A good salesman will sell anything, and convince their client that they have a real need for what they're selling. This is a rare skill, and of course needs a lot of work to get good at it. Sometimes it's better to train a good salesman about web technology than to try going at the ropes yourself.

    #2-Contracts-Whomever is still working without a contract to back them up, then my friend you are certainly walking the high wire without a net. From the story you saw earlier in this forum, there are many dishonest people out to squeeze every single bit of knowledge out of you before going for the real thing (and usually with somebody else). Always go for a SIGNED CONTRACT, that protects both your rights (if a customer decides to go with another company mid-stream, that will allow you to bill them for the hours worked, or if they change the conditions or "needs" of their web design project once the working relationship has started), and that protects your client's rights, saying that you will go through with the project in a timely fashion, as stipulated by the contract. Yes, it is a weapon against yourself, since the actual contract does bind you in several ways, but it obliges your client to pay you whether they want to or not (and trust me, many nasties out there will refuse to accept your work, then turn around and contract somebody else that will use it anyways...).

    #3-Legal issues-Make sure to consult with a lawyer in your area to make sure that you are not including things in your contract that will render it illegal or unusable.

    #4-Most important-Not all people are alike. If you are getting the same reaction from your clientelle (rejection, apathy, etc.), then you may be failing both in price as well as in people skills. The first one can be easily fixed by doing a study of your local market (quoting the services that you offer elsewhere). The second one, can be done through interaction with customers. Remember that spending a lot of time in front of a computer can be of detriment to your social skills. TAKE A BREAK, READ, INTERACT. This is the best medicine against this problem.

    Hope this small list will help those out there just starting out. Best of luck.

    Valentin Secades

  2. #2
    Modding with Class JabezStone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Great post, Valentin...

    In this line of work, many opportunities will come from abroad, and it is important to know how to manage them.

    Unfortunately, the hundreds or thousands of miles between client/customer can make it very difficult to work a proper deal. Even though you may have everything worked out regarding communication and contracts, the shear fact of distance can make it impossible to claim your pay. And even still it is not hardly worth pursuing legally. International contracts are, first of all, difficult if not impossible to enforce, and secondly the costs of legal fees to prosecute would negate the actual project price in many circumstances.

    Doing offshore work can be a pleasant and rewarding experience, or it can be a painful gamble.

    Best wishes,


  3. #3
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    You know where
    OK, I'm in Brazil - Sao Paulo, to be exact, as some might know by now. Having a journalism degree makes me pretty good at writing (I guess), so that's a plus, and around here, sometimes it can help, 'cause we've got customers who like to have English versions of their sites, and without my final editorial work, the English text they'd be publishing wouldn't be fit to wrap a portion of chips.

    Alrighty then, we're settled that the English language is not beyond me (lets not talk about the portuguese, OK). I would love to be able to generate 'trustworthy' overseas customers; I think we could offer great work with the added benefits of low prices through exchange rates etc., but I'm not sure that this is such a great idea. Distance makes it so, so easy to burn the designer, taking all the work for no payment - it's just too easy. I'd rather stick local, have a face-to-face, shake hands etc. There might be fewer potentials, but when the customer knows the face behind the name, I really believe there's less of a chance of them doing a runner than any other way.
    Just my 1 cent (you see! I'm not even making the full 2 cents payment to myself! - it's that easy).

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