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The wannabe/wannamaybe/wannanot customer


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Posted (edited)

I'm trying to puzzle out a 'Pro Client' that made their way into my inbox. Applied wisdom would be most appreciated.

Sequence of events:
1.  'Client' requests whether I can assist on a complex technical simulation.
2.  I apply in the affirmative and request details.
3.  I receive a picture of a device near midnight that evening (I gauge this according to Fiverr's location for the client).
4.  Request present and modified operating conditions.
5.  None forthcoming.
6.  I make assumptions based on the mechanical details of the device and application.
7.  I scope out a likely Gig scenario in preparation.
8.  Request further details - none forthcoming.
9.  Decide to archive the conversation - and inform 'client' of such.
10.  Receive another midnight message - please supply quote and duration.
11.  I duly provide a specialized Gig.
12.  Crickets.
13.  Decide to archive the conversation - and inform 'client' of such.
14.  Another midnight message - 'I will reply in 1-2 days. Your price is high'.
15.  I reply - 'You are welcome to make me an offer'. (Knowing this will never happen)
16.  Decide to archive the conversation.

Now, I'm being incredibly patient due to the fact that the platform provided a note that this 'Pro Client' is obviously a special client, and acted accordingly. Under 'normal' circumstances, I would have respectfully declined around (5) in the list above.

a.  Has anyone ever had such an elusive client?
b.  How to treat the run-around?
c.  Why does the platform promote this type of 'client'? (I archive as I don't want inactive conversations clogging my inbox)

Edited by desmond_aubery
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I've been in your situation many times with so called "Pro-Clients". I totally understand your frustration with this, and here's my take on that:

a) Has anyone ever had such an elusive client?

Unfortunately yes, and most of the times someone is so elusive and condescending, they have the "Pro-Client" badge near their name. From around 30 Pro-Clients I've dealt with in my inbox, only about 60% were conversions, and more than half of them were having a bad, elusive and arrogant attitude.


b) How to treat the run-around?

Sadly, I haven't found an effective method that I can say it would work most of the times. Lately, when encountering these kind of customers, I've been sending them a quote, and informed them about the extra cost of revisions and what is going to be taken into consideration as a revision, and what's going to be taken into consideration as a total rework (in case they, overnight change their initial request). Only after that I begin the briefing process (but before sending them the formal offer to accept in the interface).

This saved me some precious time I've been investing into the briefing process, just to find out after hours of back & forth, when sending the offer that the work it's out of the potential customer's budget.

But in your case, it seems like this customer has no interest in puting in the time to explain what's exactly needed, and I'd sincerely advise you to walk away from that. If their involvment is so low now, imagine how painful the delivery and the eventual revision process would be for you. 


c) Why does the platform promote this type of 'client'?

I'm sincerely puzzled myself about this as well. From my personal experience with "Pro-Clients", I've deducted that most of them (not generalizing, I'm just talking about the ones that I've worked with) are people who dropship your services. It would make a lot of sense to enroll as a "Pro-Client" and have those beneffits if you are constantly buying cheap services from Fiverr, to dropship them to your own customers for expensive prices.

Also, that conclusion came with the fact that most of them (that I've worked with) know about seller's metrics and basically abuse them to keep you on your toes with the response time, revisions, potential bad feedback and cancelations. Not to mention that the only times I've had customers extend their "reviewing" time of the delivery (before autocompletion), were done by "Pro-Clients", aware of the fact that you can't get an early payout if the order is marked as automatically completed.

Not to talk about one "Pro-Client" that I've asked for an honest and sincere review on our first order (we had like 5), and he told me that he'll review everything at the end, after the final order (the 5th one). You can imagine how hostage I've felt, being susceptible to undergo a bad public & private feedback if I didn't wanted to continue our collaboration for our 2nd order, as well as keeping me on the knife's edge until the last one.


I'm not saying every one of them is a seller metric abuser, but the majority of "Pro-Clients" I've dealt with so far, were sneaky abusers & not at all professionals.

Fiverr Select Buyers, on the other hand, were good and understanding people, being a pleasure to work with, at least from my personal experience so far.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much for your incredibly honest, objective overview. I have learned a great deal.  🙏😊

I had not thought about the undeclaired 'drop-shipping' aspect. That's a very real professional trap. That's the type of project I would not support from a moral perspective. The end client could never have a valid claim on professional re-work under such circumstances.

Edited by desmond_aubery
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, desmond_aubery said:

That's the type of project I would not support from a moral perspective. The end client could never have a valid claim on professional re-work under such circumstances.

Yes indeed! But the worst part of this, is that your direct customer will never tell you they're dropshipping your services.

From my time here, there were times where my direct customers slipped a "I'm waiting for feedback from my client", "I will come back when my client response" or similar lines, that drove me to the dropshipping conclusion. But most of the times they won't tell you if they're the final client or just an intermediary, even if you ask that.

My advice on this is to respectfully ask if they're the final client, since it really matters to the freelancer, in terms of revisions and feedback. The last one I've got was sounding like this:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. My client has not been responding to my messages to make sure the audio was ok, even though he has the files now. Anyway, he's stuck with them now - from my perspective, they were perfect. So, thank you for doing exactly what was required and with such efficiency. 

Edited by hzsmith
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