Last week I went to a urologist for a renal kidney ultrasound to make sure I had no kidney stones.
After the test, the receptionist at the front desk said, “You have an appointment with Dr. Beekman Monday.”
“What for?” I asked.
“To get the results of the ultrasound.”
“Why do I need an appointment?” I answered. “He can just call me with the results.”
“That’s the way he does it.”
“Well, we’re not doing it that way this time,” I replied. “Cancel the appointment, and when he has the results, call me with them.”
Two days later, she called and said, “We got the results and you are fine—no stones.”
The call took about 20 seconds of my time and cost nothing.
Had I agreed to the completely unnecessary follow-up appointment, it would have taken nearly 2 hours of my time, cost me a $50 co-pay, and cost my insurance company even more.
Why did the urologist want me to come in for a follow-up instead of making a phone call to convey the exact same information?
Because he can’t bill me or my insurance company for a phone call.
It was clear to me that the only reason he pushed for a follow-up was to put more money in his pocket, not to provide me with better health care.
I see a lot of vendors in all professions, freelance copywriters included, who seem focused on extracting as much money as they can from their client rather than doing what best serves the client.
Often this is done by pushing a lot of add-on services that benefit the vendor’s pocketbook more than they do the client.
I have always taken the opposite approach: aside from charging a fair fee for services rendered, I strive to have my clients spend as little money with me on their marketing campaigns as they can while still getting optimal service and results.
Perhaps this has cost me a small fortune in lost fees over the years, but it’s more important to me that I always put the client—and not me—first, and do right by them.
And I have a sneaking suspicion that clients get this and in fact have rewarded me with many years of loyalty, the evidence being that so many stick with me for many, many years.
If it makes me stupid not to squeeze every last dime out of my clients and instead to charge reasonable fees and do only work they really need, well…I’d rather be stupid and fair than rich and greedy.
But that’s just me.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.