Client Selection and Management by Steve Zehngut [LIVEBLOG]

We are kicking off the business track of WordCamp SD today, with Steve talking about Client Selection and Management.

If you don’t know who your “target” client is, you’ll spend a lot of time & money on the wrong ones. Steve will help us think about how we define & evaluate the kinds of clients we want to work with, as well as how to manage our communication & expectations.


Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:03 pm


Is the project you’re looking at accepting too big? too small?

Can I realistically deliver this project?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:04 pm

Is the client local? Do I need to travel to the client? Can I telecommute? How long has the client been in business? are they stable? are they are a startup? do they have money in the bank? These questions all factor in to getting paid.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:04 pm

Are they an agency? Are we the third party? fourth party? fifth party?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:04 pm

Let’s talk about “Types” of clients.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:06 pm

“The know it all”

…could be identified by “I could do this myself…” or “This seems pretty easy”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:07 pm

The “Sidekick” client.

Someone who is overly involved.

the opposite?

the “invisible man”

someone you just can’t get ahold of.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:09 pm


The tight-wad. Constantly going over finances, questioning hours spent, every dollar being spent on the project. Nothing wrong with that, just be prepared.

Be careful with the “my nephew could do this much cheaper”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:10 pm


Could be identified with phrases like.. “I’m positive we agreed on this”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:10 pm


A combination of everything we just talked about. They might say something like “We’re going to run WordPress on a Windows server” or “we’re going to do a knowledge transfer”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:11 pm

Audience: “the opposite of a Scrooge”

Steve: “Oh yes, I love these clients. A client that knows what they want, and way too much money”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:12 pm

These aren’t necessarily “problem clients,” just realize what kind of client they are and how to handle them.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:12 pm

Give your clients “names” so you know how to handle those types of clients.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:15 pm

Red Flags.

What are some red flags you may run into.

#1 complaining about past developers
* Listen to what exactly they are complaining about and what kind of role they played in that relationship.

#2 A client that is slow to respond to requests. That’s an indication of how they will be durin the relationship.

#3 They refuse to pay the deposit. Any new prospect that doesn’t want to pay the deposit, the relationship may not happen.

#4 Client is on a tight deadline, especially if they hired another developer and the deadline is shorter because it didn’t work out.

#5 It just doesn’t feel right.

It could be a combination of anything, that it just doesn’t feel right.

Audience: “Over-promising of things to come or a ‘rev-share'”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:15 pm

Another flag, promise of future projects.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:16 pm

Different Forms of Payment.

* Work for Hire
* Revenue Share
* Partnership
* Pro Bono (FREE)

The only one that Steve will take is “Work for Hire”

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:17 pm

Ask qualifying questions. If I ask the right questions, I know if they are a prospective client within 10 minutes.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:18 pm

Listen. Listen. Ask another question, listen more.

Don’t start talking.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:19 pm

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:19 pm

Rate sheets will raid out most of the clients you don’t want.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:20 pm


If your gut says don’t take it, don’t take it.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:21 pm

Give a project description. What are we building?

what is the “Purpose”? Why does it need to be build? What problem does it solve?

Overall, that determines the value of the project. Value is based on the solution to the problem.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:22 pm

Does the client already have a project spec? This can give some light to how organized they are.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:22 pm

Who is going to be managing the project on the client’s side? who is our day-to-day contact? who do we call?

You don’t want to be dealing with the C-level guy, you need a day-to-day contact.

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:22 pm

Who is the ultimate decision maker? whom am I really answering to? Who really is my client? who am I getting approval from?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:23 pm

Any other internal influences that I should be aware? Who is the technical decision maker? do I need to talk to someone in IT to get signed off before the project is done?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:23 pm

Who on the editorial team needs to be involved?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:24 pm

Does the client need any site migration assistance?

Does the client have any WordPress experience or is this their first project?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:25 pm

A big one, what is the process of getting paid? you need to know and understand that so you know what the expectations are.

Who do I bill? Who do I sent an invoice to? who do I contact to get paid? Net30? Net90? Master services agreement?

What’s in place to actually get paid?

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:26 pm

Jonathan Dingman March 24, 201312:27 pm

That’s it for Steve, next up, Contract Management.

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