Ever been in a spot where your client suddenly wants to hit the pause button on your services? Well, you're not alone. We've all been thrown that curveball at some point. It's tricky, especially when you're just about to invoice. This is how you can gracefully handle this situation without losing your cool or your client.
Imagine this: you're all set to send out an invoice, and out of the blue, your client wants to pause their campaign until the new year. It's a situation familiar to freelancers in all sectors, but for social media managers, it leaves you in a bit of a pickle because it has the potential to mess with your whole strategy and decrease your chances of success when you restart.
You want to get paid, so how do you handle this without sounding too harsh but also standing your ground? Let's dive in.
The importance of a solid contract:
This is where your contract comes into play. Remember that little clause about a one-month notice period? It's not just fine print; it's your safety net. Contracts are crucial in setting clear expectations right from the get-go. But, of course, reminding your client about this clause can feel a tad awkward.
TOP TIP: Use your terms of business to pre-empt this issue and ensure the client understands there is no such thing as a pause in your services.
NO CONTRACT? Visit our Legal Template Shop to make sure this doesn't happen again!
The fine balance of professionalism and empathy
We've all been in situations where we've had to tighten the purse strings, right? A little understanding goes a long way, and it's all about striking the right balance between being professional and empathetic.
The way you communicate this can make a world of difference. Instead of a flat-out “You still need to pay me,” try something more along the lines of, “I understand your situation, but as per our contract, we do have a one-month notice period. Let’s discuss how we can make this work for both of us.”
Educating your client about the impact.
This is also a teaching moment. Explaining the impact of pausing a campaign abruptly, like losing momentum can open their eyes and get them to rapidly change their minds. Remind the client of their goals and objectives and the progress you've already made together. Sometimes, a little reminder of the ‘wins' can reignite their enthusiasm and remind them why they've made this investment in the first place.
Offering solutions to avoid a pause.
Rather than a complete pause, suggest scaling back the campaign. Or maybe use this time to strategize for the upcoming year. This way, you're still adding value and keeping the relationship warm without risking losing momentum, or losing the client.
Preparing for future scenarios with this client, and others.
To avoid future surprises, consider revisiting your contract and terms of business. You might need to update your communication strategy and ensure you are educating your client as well as reporting to them.
Use your own marketing to educate your wider audience about the impacts of going quiet on social media and why December is one of the best month's to be active on social media.
Prioritise your own marketing throughout the year so that should a client cancel their contract unexpectedly you have warm leads you can convert to paying clients.
We'd also recommend using our Offer Triangle® Framework to reduce your risk and ensure you can easily replace lost income should the worst happen.
Handling client pauses and invoicing doesn't have to be a headache. With clear communication, a solid contract, and a dash of empathy, you can navigate these waters like a pro. Remember, it's about finding that sweet spot where both you and your client feel valued and understood.