In Part 1 of this series, we addressed how to identify two types of users who bleed your creativity through various actions. Now in Part 2 we will look at ways to deal with them in a positive manner and hopefully turn some of them around.
As Johnny Mercer once said, you’ve got to “Accentuate the Positive:”
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
I’ve noted before, you must develop a thick skin to succeed as a freelance creative. You will constantly be subjected to criticism, attacks, and threats from those that are simply not good citizens of the Internet.
Pay them no mind.
When faced with anything negative, put is aside and don’t focus on it. Instead, accentuate the positive.
Believe me, I understand how difficult it is to do that. Every unjustified 1 star review sticks in my craw. It’s a constant process to remind myself to stay focused and move beyond that negativity. Stay positive and focused on the goal.
Be Cautious in Your Communication
With the issue of negative reviews, the first thing to consider is whether or not the person is right. Do they have a point? Not every negative review is unjustified, no matter who you are. If it is justified, see the positive in this. It gives you an opportunity to improve your product. Respond with thanks for that reason.
For the unjustified negative reviewer, they will expose themselves for what they are. If you have a community reputation, that helps mitigate the threat from this type of person. Staying positive and professional gives you the upper hand. People will look at how you respond and will react to that. Unlike opposites, optimists attract.
When you get a bad review, DO NOT immediately respond. Instead, take some time to cool off first. Otherwise you’ll only say something you regret saying publicly later.
In most cases, the review and your response will remain in perpetuity, so make sure you are happy with your response. It will be engraved in stone.
One method I use to deal with this is to write my initial response – and delete it. This can be therapeutic, much like journaling. It gives you a chance to say what you feel without worrying about what others think of what you said. Get it off your chest. Then you can come back and write your real response. Make sure to edit more than once, just like you would with any other piece of writing.
Train Your Customer
Negativity can come from lack of information, but training your customer on what is expected can help overcome that.
In the case of the negative review, perhaps better documentation may help. Or you may need to review your marketing. Does everything work as described? Do you purposely hide things that your product is lacking? Communication can help minimize the appearance of negative reviews.
In the case of the Just One More Thing customer, train them to understand how you need to work. Again, communication is the key.
Refer to the scope that was agreed to prior to the project. If what they are asking for is out of scope, be positive, professional, and polite while telling them that you would be happy to address that in a new project. Advise them that the original project needs to be completed first, then a new project assembled.
Not only does this train them to do better project scoping, it leads them down the path of being a forever customer by adding new work.
Remember, it’s cheaper to get new business from an existing customer than it is to find a new one.
There are two important outcomes from this. First, you are training to fix a bad habit. This can make a problem client turn into one of your favorite customers. Second, it can lead to repeat business. People like to work with people they’ve already worked with.
But recognize that if that person cannot be trained, you are better off parting ways. If they can’t be trained to properly to work with you, then either they are using you, either intentionally or unintentionally. Either way, working with them will cause you unnecessary stress. If your business is new you may feel trapped by the need for the work, but trust me; working long term with a user will bleed you dry and keep you from spending time finding quality customers.
What are some things you do to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative?” Let me know in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!