Archive for August, 2011

Welcome to My New Blog!

I’m so happy to FINALLY be at my new blog digs! Yay!

If you’re on my blog email notification list already from the Gritty VA blog days, you won’t have to do a thing. You’ll still continue to get email notifications whenever there’s a new blog post. It’ll just take you to my new blog here instead of the old one.

I can’t tell you how good this feels!

For those who have asked, I won’t be moving all my old blog posts from Gritty VA over all at once. Instead, what I’ll be doing is updating and republishing them bit by bit as I go along, but posting them by their original posted dates. There were so, so many great topics over there. The information and advice is still very valid so it will be nice to give them some fresh air time, as you know how things tend to get buried the older they get.

Anyway, thanks so much for being here and please do keep in touch and post your thoughts and comments. I luv ‘em!

Should You Pass Fees onto Clients?

I came across a question that I thought was a good topic of conversation and that is:  should you pass fees onto clients?

When we say “fees,” we’re talking about all those little miscellaneous fees you get charged by your bank, by PayPal, by your merchant accounts, etc.

My answer:  No. No, you should not pass those fees onto clients. And here’s why.

1.  First of all, those fees are just the cost of doing business. They’re your problem, not your clients (and that’s how they feel about this as well).

2. Those fees are expenses that you get to write off at the end of the year come tax-time. In fact, you want to have those kind of expenses because it’s going to reduce the amount of money you have to pay taxes on. They actually help you in a round-about way. So make sure you are recording them religiously in your bookkeeping as expenses.

3. Passing on nickel and dime fees like that to clients is terribly un-customer friendly. It generates ill-will. Nothing pisses clients off more and causes resentment (which is NEVER good for any relationship) than to be nickeled and dimed like that. You should already have those kinds of things built into the professional rates and fees you charge. If you can’t absorb those kind of costs, you aren’t charging enough.

4. You want policies that generate good-will in clients. A lot of this has to do with mere perception and interesting human psychology. Clients much prefer to pay one simple fee, even if it’s higher, than having to be hit up at every turn for reimbursement of nickel and dime expenses. It just feels less to them and so it feels like a better experience.

5. It could be against the terms of use or even illegal. Don’t quote me because I’m not an attorney, but turning around and charging use fees (such as those associated with credit cards, etc.) back to the client may not only be against the terms of use of the card-issuing companies, it could even be illegal under certain circumstances. Ask your card company and your attorney about this. Better safe than sorry.

Thoughts About Promotional Items

When it comes to promotional items, put some thought into what the client might like, value and appreciate.

I recently saw a comment where the person mentioned that they didn’t want to miss out on any opportunity to give clients “something with my name on it.”

Sweeties, clients could care less about items with your name on it. Do you know how much of that crap get tossed in the “round file” as soon as it’s received? No one wants or needs yet another boring pen or letter opener with your name on it.

You’re going to waste a lot of money on stuff that no one but you cares about and isn’t going to make you memorable anyway (which is why people do these promo items in the first place).

Put some more thought into things, more originality. Think about it from the client’s perspective. And if you don’t know what they would like, value, appreciate or find interesting or helpful, then get out there and start talking to them now.

Demonstrating exceptional service is more memorable than any promo item. No one is going to become a raving fan shouting about you to others every chance they get because they got a pen with your name on it.

Giving something extra is more memorable. Go above and beyond once in awhile as a gesture of good will and just because you know it will help.

Creating some free info products (which can and should have your name and branding on it) is more useful to clients and they are more likely to pass those kinds of things on (which helps you get your name out there… exactly what you intended the ineffective promo items to do).

If you’re going to give a gift to a new client, make it a real gift, not some self-serving promotional item.

And when it comes to gifts, consider giving something they can experience rather than something that might only sit on a shelf or go in a drawer (or worse, the wastebasket). Maybe that’s zoo tickets. Maybe it’s a certificate for dinner for two. Maybe you send them over something unconventional and unexpected. Those are the things that are memorable to people. You’ll be forever associated with those good memories and feelings and they for sure will be telling others about the uniqueness of your approach.

No one raves to others about some humdrum pen or letter opener with your name on it. And when they don’t care about the item (and it gets buried or thrown away), you’ve just wasted money and effort imprinting them with your details.

If you’re looking for ideas for your new client welcome kits, I’ve got a New Client Welcome Kit Guide that covers all this stuff and comes free with the admin support biz sets I offer in our Success Store.