What Clients Think: A Peek Into The Minds Of Your Nemesis

Have you ever sat in front of a client and thought about the lunch waiting for you in the break room while you keep circling back to the same argument in the meeting? Same. But a little known fact is that your client is also thinking about their own problem, be it hunger or something more serious because despite what you may believe, they’re human too!

Strange, right?

That’s okay, it’s normal to think of the worst for your nemesis, and what are clients but rivals to our happy, peaceful lives? But to establish a peaceful or at least semi-sane relationship with your client, you need to understand what’s going on in their mind so that you can decipher the code and reveal your status as the ultimate winner after each argument.

So let’s begin understanding the metaphoric enemy, shall we?

The design looks good but…

Is your client celebrating their brand’s anniversary? A new store opening? Don’t let your design thinking get in the way of their happiness, that’s a big no-no.

“We’re announcing a milestone so our ad needs to be celebratory with confetti and stars!! Aur humaray store ko bhi dikhayein takay sab ko pata chalay akhir kis ka ad hai.”

“But… shouldn’t we keep it simple? Let the words speak?”

“Aray naheen, our audience loves colors, so that’s what we’ll add. If you can’t do it, we can always get it done by our designer.”

The designer, who’s probably the boss’s cousin’s daughter’s youngest kid who was hired because his mom sent his amateur university project to the family WhatsApp group to show-off, will definitely botch the design and your hard-earned brand campaign in the process. So don’t fuss, just let your client’s imagination take the wheel and if the design’s bad then… at least you tried.

I can’t pay you more than that!!!

Results, results, results. That’s the mantra your client understands and that’s completely acceptable because “we’re paying good money for this”. Money? Sure. Good? Umm… not exactly.

“The bloggers need money? Surely not, they are always ready for free stuff, just send them our PR na, wo tou foran maan jayeinge akhir acha product hai humara.”

“Yes, but they do have payment plans aur ab freebies se kaam naheen chal sakta.”

“Freebies? Nonsense. Also, I am paying your agency to do our marketing. You should pay them not us.”

Clients like these rarely budge, so keep your blood pressure and your sanity, and just suggest them campaigns that won’t cost you your mental health and them their money. It’s a fair way to go.

The leads just won’t convert! >@!#$@

As per my experience, a client you generate leads for will always be your worst nightmare unless you explain to them that you just can’t target income groups in Pakistan. If you could, the world would have been such a beautiful place to live in. But when you try to explain it to them, well…

“What do you mean affordability can’t be targeted? Clifton, DHA ko target yahan tou sab affluent log hotay hain.”

“I just keep calling but the lead won’t respond, why have you sent us their number?”

If only we could handpick leads from the areas our clients suggest and serve them pre-converted leads. But alas.

Sister, please run our ad

You can’t win over a client who makes you their family. Female points of contact are sisters, male ones are brothers, and if your client is older than you then you’re the “beta” whom they can actually boss around, a refreshing change for them because their kids won’t listen to them now, will they?

So what happens when you’re your client’s family? Aside from late-night tasks and frequent financial “requests” every month’s end, here are a few instances we’ve actually experienced…

“Kaam ki baat tou hoti rahegi, but first tell me, is that a real Rolex?”

Excuse me, ever heard of social norms?

“Sister, I haven’t heard from you in a long time, are you still working with ABC agency?”

The only sad part of all these interactions is that they won’t really treat you like family. Sigh.

What do you even do?

Have you spent days and nights slaving away to get your clients the best results? Get ready to watch your client disregard all that by asking “Are you even doing anything for my brand?” or “We need a dedicated resource for our work”. Umm, excuse me, am I an idiot?

That’s a question I’ve asked myself way too many times, and usually after such comments…

“I like your name suggestions for the restaurant but my sister got an Istikhara that her suggested name will bring us success because she didn’t understand the names you sent to us.” What about my pitch? The one that I spent days over? Is this dismissal my reward?

“Chat bots? But why? What am I paying you for if you won’t reply to my page’s messages?” So you want to go fully digital but only when a human is doing it?

So when you go through denial when your client so easily dismisses you, or when your anger is taking the best of you, just go to the roof of your workplace and scream. And if the people in the neighboring apartments think you’re crazy, well, one more assumption won’t hurt.

Annoying as they may be, nature does gift you with good clients who actually appreciate your work. And even if they don’t, understand that they’re human too. I have misjudged so many of my clients because of the things they say (I’ve listed everything above, it’s all true) but when you take a step back you realize that while you are pressured by your client for results, they may also be under pressure to outperform their competitors because well, that’s how the world works.

So when you are really angry and want to murder everyone as John Wick is prone to do, remember – the real enemy isn’t your client or your company. The real enemy is capitalism. So fight the system and emerge as the true leader of the socialist economy. Or maybe just plug in your headphones and keep your anger at bay because it’s payday because anything for that paycheck, right?

Zainab Abdul Rehman

Content and strategy specialist with a head full of ideas that I never get time to execute.

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