Ask the Masters:
AWAI Board Members Answer Member Questions

QUESTION #1: After submitting several spec assignments – and not hearing back from the clients – one of our members wrote to ask, "When you don't know the client personally, how do you follow up?"

BOB BLY'S ANSWER: "My method is to keep sending them clippings of relevance whenever I find one."

DON MAHONEY'S ANSWER: "You might contact them one more time with something like, 'Look, I really want to succeed at this. I'd like to do that by being part of your success. I'd really like to know if you liked what I sent, thought it could use a different direction, or even just have some suggestions for me.'"

QUESTION #2: Another member asked, "How do you deal with it when a client rewrites parts of your work? Should you try to explain the reasons why it was done that way – or simply agree to his changes since it is his product?"

BOB BLY'S ANSWER: "In my view, the first draft is your recommendation. If the client wants to change it and you don't think the changes are good, explain why once, then acquiesce pleasantly."

DON MAHONEY'S ANSWER: "It depends on the relationship with the client. Sometimes, you have to just let them do what they want. Sometimes, you have to fight to have it done right. This is something you can argue more when you have a track record. When you don't have a track record, you pretty much have to let them have their way, unless you have a strong point to make. But don't argue based on your 'feelings.' The strongest argument when you don't have a track record is that this technique worked like gangbusters for someone else."

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Published: March 25, 2002

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