The deadline is tomorrow. Your client is expecting it … she’s counting on it. But you’ve just been told creative needs more time.
You’re dreading the conversation with the client … anticipating the disappointment in her voice turning to frustration. You can feel the sweat beads forming on your brow.
But what if I told you it’s possible to avoid this negative confrontation … to get a deadline extension … AND have the client actually thank you!
Schedules are the Agency Lifeblood
Agencies live and die by production schedules. All resources are assigned and scheduled at every step along the way. Clients are notified when to expect things. And when their approvals are due back.
And the well-oiled agency machine is set in motion.
All eyes are on the end goal of meeting the deadlines. After all, without deadlines, chaos would rule the agency and nothing would ever get done.
The Deadline Starts to Drive Everything
What happens though is the schedule takes on a life of its own. Everything and everyone is geared towards delivering the task at hand on time.
But sometimes life gets in the way.
People get sick.
Other client emergencies flare up.
The creative process takes longer than anticipated.
And since everyone is so focused on the deadline, when there is a misstep, you assume a posture of failure.
You contact the client to deliver the bad news … and duck.
Or worse yet, you completely ignore the missed deadline, hoping if you don’t mention it the client will forget.
But she doesn’t forget and it doesn’t have to play out this way.
Shift the Focus Back to What Matters
It’s not the schedule that really matters. It’s the work … the end product. The key to deadline extensions is to refocus the client to the quality of the work.
It’s always better to deliver a quality end product a little late than a lower quality product on time. Afterall, the product itself is what is going to deliver results for the client. Not the fact that it was delivered by a certain date.
So how do you refocus the client?
You’re Looking Out for the Client’s Best Interest
Explain to the client that the team is not happy with the current state of the work … and you know she would not be happy with it either. But with a little more time, the team is confident that we’ll get it where it needs to be. Then ask for however much time the team needs to deliver.
Just be sure this is the date you will deliver on.
I’ve never had a client say no to more time in this situation. And 9 times out of 10, she will even thank you for it!
Of course, the exception is when the deadline absolutely, positively cannot be missed. Then this tactic won’t work. That’s when the team is going to have to pull an all nighter to get it done.
But those are thankfully pretty rare.
More often than not, the deadline was created in order to move the project along and there is some flexibility with dates along the way. And your client will thank you for keeping your eye on what truly matters, the quality of the work.
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