I nearly quit scoping. After working with several difficult clients, I was ready to throw in the towel.
Then one client changed everything.
After working with her, I finally realized the three vital qualities that were missing in my previous business relationships, and I used that as a foundation for future working relationships. I also learned that I needed to evaluate what I had done to attract such terrible clients.
I now work with wonderful reporters and truly love what I do.
Well, most days. 🙂
To give your business its best chance for success, not just a fighting chance, let’s look at my top 3 principles that are essential for a thriving working relationship.
A business relationship simply can’t flourish without mutual respect; therefore, it’s vital to work with someone who respects you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered reporters who treated me like their doormat. Lack of respect is a huge indicator to quickly move on and continue your search for an excellent client. You may have to kiss a few toads along the way, but they’re all stepping stones to finding your ideal client.
It’s imperative that you also show respect for them and their business. Reporters work very hard to make a living and have a lot on their plate, too, i.e., dealing with firms and attorneys, spending hours searching for a decent scopist, all while trying to balance their home and work life. So let’s all be considerate. Working is hard enough without all the unnecessary complications that accompany it.
This one might seem obvious, but a reporter who keeps their word is a reporter who should be prioritized. It’s very difficult to schedule a workweek around someone who is constantly saying one thing, but doing another. This has happened more than I’d like to admit, and I was always left feeling frustrated and disrespected.
In addition, to keep your reputation unscathed, always honor their deadline and let them know if you won’t be able to complete a job, stating your reasons why. This means not taking on more jobs than you can handle, avoiding expedites and dailies if you’re new, and having backup plans in place for when things do go wrong, since, unfortunately, bad things always seem to happen at the worst times. Remember, their reputation is on the line, and they’re trusting you with a vital part of their process that must be done on time.
Providing emergency contact information beforehand is a must. Depending on the gravity of your situation, you may not always have the option to let them know something terrible has happened, so put your reporter’s mind at ease by sharing alternative ways to contact you in case of an emergency.
Also, if you know you’re going to be out of town or unavailable, communicate that to your reporters. Give them as much notice as possible. It is an incredible frustration for reporters to have no idea what is going on with their scopist, and it puts them in a difficult situation.
It might sound cliche, but effective communication is everything when establishing a healthy working relationship.
The only way to know what a reporter expects is through an abundance of communication. Since it’s impossible to deliver what was never communicated in the first place, crystal clear communication is vital to success. Make a conscious effort to over-communicate early on so that there is zero room for miscommunication.
While following these tips is not a guarantee that you’ll never have a bad experience, they will help increase your odds while simultaneously weeding out clients you shouldn’t be working with.
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