The Gigging Musician Podcast

Difficult Clients

May 04, 2021 Jared Judge
The Gigging Musician Podcast
Difficult Clients
Chapters
The Gigging Musician Podcast
Difficult Clients
May 04, 2021
Jared Judge

In this episode, Jared shares a gig story where a client that hired his quartet was less-than-happy with the quartet. Hear how he handled it, and how musicians have handled threats of negative reviews.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Jared shares a gig story where a client that hired his quartet was less-than-happy with the quartet. Hear how he handled it, and how musicians have handled threats of negative reviews.

Hey gigging musicians, it's Jared, today wanted to talk about dealing with difficult clients. So if you're in the live event booking industry for a while, you know, it happens to everybody, you eventually have to deal with a difficult client. This could either be like somebody who's directly booked to you, or a member of their family, or even a member of the venue staff who just simply doesn't like you for some reason. But specifically, I'm going to tell you a story that I was dealing with a couple years back about a difficult client. So this was a client in I think it was in 2019. They were booked for a wedding in the summer, kind of in the suburbs of Milwaukee a little closer to Chicago. And it was the mother of the bride who had booked us. And so we, during the booking and planning process, there were a couple of moments where when I was talking with this person, I kind of you know, how you get that feeling like the the hairs on the back of your neck raise or just, you start to get some little red flags going up here and there, but maybe yellow flags, because I guess I didn't get enough of a bad vibe to say no, I'm not going to, to go through with this booking. So we went through the booking process. And just I guess the things that raised some of the yellow flags, were just some the way that the emails were worded that made it clear that as the musician you are subservient you are. I don't know you. You're not my equal. And I felt that in the conversations we were having and the emails, but it wasn't, I guess it wasn't bad enough for me to actually say, No, I'm not going to book you. So I booked them. And then we do our typical planning process using a contract and a deposit all through book life Pro, and then I'd set them the client portals so that they could pick their songs, they did that completely fine. And then this was a gig that I was not on, I actually had some people closer to Chicago, do this gig. And then the day of the performance happens, I was doing a different gig up in Milwaukee. This was I was doing a concert that I'd agreed to play. And literally like before I was going on stage for this concert, I get a call from this mother of the bride, who was very angry with me. She says, Where are the musicians? And so that freaked me out. I first thought like, Did I make a mistake? Because as you all have heard, I've made that mistake prior to using BookLive Pro did I forget to book the musicians. And then I remembered No, this was a difficult client, I made sure to put in a little extra effort to triple check things. I booked the musicians, I've been confirmed with them beforehand. They texted me letting me know they were in there. So I called the musicians, right before I was going on stage. And I said, Hey, are you guys at this gig? I'm getting a call from the mother of the bride. The musician said, Yeah, we're exactly where the contract told us to be. And so I called the mother of the bride back. And I said just gotten a report from the musician saying they're exactly where they're supposed to be in the contract. Apparently, the mother of the bride looked in a different spot and then couldn't find the musicians even though they were within 100 feet of her and they were playing. And so I, you know, got them in touch with the musicians, the musicians moved to where this mother of the bride wanted them to be, even though it was different than what they laid out in the contract. And I guess they had talked. I didn't hear anything after that. I presume the gig went fine. So then after my concert, I called my musicians to find out what happened. They said, hey, yeah, we showed up. And we showed up early, went to the spot where they told us to be and set up and play. And then this angry mother of the bride came over to us saying, You guys aren't where you're supposed to be. What are you doing? So we moved and continued playing and didn't hear anything after that. And then after the concert and everything after the wedding, I get a call from the mother of the bride and I we chat and she's very angry with me telling me all about how the the musicians were giving her attitude which I'm not sure you know, I wasn't there. I don't know the whole story. But there were some some racist things said which is not okay. My musician should not ever have to be the subject of that and I I feel really bad when this like kind of stuff happens. And so I call her out on that which I probably shouldn't have gotten a little, you know, involved in that sort of conversation. But it was just not good. Did not handle this difficult client well. And so eventually we get off the phone, and we're both still angry. And then she leaves a bad review for us on Facebook, which as you know, reviews are super important. They're the lifeblood of your reputation. So then, later, I actually met another string quartet musician on the East Coast, who, you know, he was telling me about how when he runs his group, but he deals with difficult clients, you know, the more gigs you you get, the more difficult clients you're gonna run into. And so he was telling me about a recent one. And what he started to do was that he actually started to offer them partial refunds if there if if you know, some, somebody in the Quartet did, that merited a refund. And, you know, obviously, the more gigs you do, the more we're treating this as a business and refunds are part of this. But he only offers them refunds if they agree to sign a nondisclosure agreement. And so what a nondisclosure agreement is, if you don't know what it's a contract between two parties that says, if we do something like if we give you a refund, in exchange, you agree to not disclose any information surrounding the events of of this agreement, which would take the form of you will not post a review online. And so this is an interesting thing. He said that his lawyer, drafted him a nondisclosure agreement. And since then, you know, he's tried this with several difficult clients. And they've all signed it. And he's offered them minimal refunds you normally for like, if one of the Quartet members didn't show up, he offered them a quarter refund, in exchange for them signing a nondisclosure agreement. And as such, he has not had a single bad review since then. And so that's one way of dealing with difficult clients. But honestly, my favorite way of dealing with difficult clients is to weed them out before you even book them. So just as part of like, my group's branding, and what I've decided is that we are nice people, we set our boundaries, because we don't want to deal with not nice people. And so what I should have done for that client back in earlier in the story was I should have, I should have listened to my gut, I should have listened to those yellow flags and turned them red, and said, No, this is a client that's going to prove very difficult for me in the future. And I could feel it, I just should have listened to my gut and said, this is not a gig worth taking. So that's kind of the lesson here is that you know, the more gigs you do and the more that you value yourself, as a musician and as a person, you can start to define your boundaries. defining your boundaries is okay and it's it's good it's a good thing. Because you know, you are not a one stop shop. You're not a one size fits all musician, you don't have to be treated as somebody subservient. You deserve to be treated as an equal. And you deserve not have to deal with difficult clients. The only difficult situations that you should ever have to deal with should be you know, honestly, your your fault. But that's why you plan and prepare in advance so you don't put yourself into difficult situations. So that's the lesson today. don't deal with difficult clients. And if you do think about a nondisclosure agreement, they add a few if you're interested in learning more about the systems that I use to make this happen, go ahead and check out BookLivePro.com if you'd like this episode, make sure to subscribe, like it and share it. And here's to you never having to work with a difficult client ever again.