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Supplier control

Sometimes suppliers and clients don’t agree on the  best way to do something – that is natural and understandable. But if the client is paying for the work, I believe that the client has the deciding vote.

I have had situations where a client has insisted I do something a particular way against my better judgment as a professional writer. A few times, I have done what the client asked for and an alternative version the way I think it should be done and given both versions to the client. In all these cases, once they have seen it in context, the client has agreed with my version. Other times I have just done what the client asked.

But what happens when a supplier decides their way is correct, or at least better, and just implements it without even telling the client they are making that decision?

For instance, if a client asks for certain paragraphs to be in italics in a brochure their designer may disagree and not use italics. The client, trusting the designer to do as asked, doesn’t notice this omission until after the brochures are printed and is rightly upset because those paragraphs were quotes and need to look different.

A much more professional approach from the designer would have been to say “I don’t think italics is a good idea as they are harder to read” and then discussed it with the client.

Clients do not appreciate loosing control of their own projects, nor the suppliers who take that control. And once you do something like that, the client is likely to double check everything you do for them which is a waste of their time and goodwill – and not likely to get you more work or any referrals.

As a supplier, you can disagree with a client but you should never presume to control the project contrary to your client’s request. Remember, if the final result is not up to your standard because the client insisted on doing things a certain way, it reflects more on the client than you – their name is on it, not yours. Just don’t add the project to your portfolio!

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