You spent the last three days glued to your computer screen, meticulously crafting the perfect mix for a new client. A masterwork now spills from your speakers. Every second sounds exceptional. You resist the urge to call Pensado’s Place for an interview.
Leaning back confidently in your cushy office chair, you upload the mix to WeTransfer and wait.
A day goes by. Two days.
And finally, it comes. Like a sack of bricks to the face.
“So your mix is a little different than what we were looking for…”
While we all hope every client loves our first pass, revisions are par for the course. Learning how to efficiently and gracefully navigate through this process will lead to happier clients. And happy clients come back.
Follow these seven steps, and you’ll breeze through your next round of revisions!
1. Take A Moment To Cool Off
You’ll likely be feeling defensive. I get it.
Resist the urge to reply to an email full of notes right away. Your first response is almost never the best one. Take a walk around the block, go on a run, or call your girlfriend. You’ll thank yourself later.
2. Be Collaborative, Not Combative
The experience someone has when working with you is infinitely more important than the mix they walk away with. It’s often better to concede to a few notes you may not agree with than fight and argue your way to the finish line.
While I understand the inclination to defend your mix, I’ve rarely found it helpful to do so. Remember that you’re providing a service. Your job is to make your client happy, not to convince them why they should love your first pass.
3. Understand What Your Client Really Wants
While some clients are able to articulate exactly what they want changed, others may need a bit of help. It’s your job to bridge the gap.
If you received notes via email, sometimes a quick follow-up phone call can be helpful. Use this opportunity to ask clarifying questions. Always remain friendly and upbeat, and make sure to use a nonjudgemental tone. You want your client to feel like you’re on their side.
4. Educate Your Client
If your client asks you to make a choice that has negative consequences, explain any repercussions using clear and simple language (no jargon). For example, if they want the mix to be louder, explain that this may come at the cost of punch and impact.
However, once you give your client the information they need to make a fully informed decision, let them make the final call.
5. Reaffirm That Every Choice Is Theirs To Make
A few years ago, I stumbled upon a study that radically changed the way I interact with my clients.
In the study, strangers were approached on the street and asked to give money to a charity organization.
One group of strangers was simply asked for money. 10% agreed to give.
The second group was also asked to give money, but the phrase “you are free to accept or refuse” was added.
47% of this group of strangers agreed to give.
We all want to feel like we have free will. Your client is no exception. During the revisions process, constantly reaffirm that every decision is theirs to make. Ironically, you’ll find that they’ll be much more open to your suggestions.
6. Be Flexible
Be willing to make big changes to your mix if necessary. This is not the time for wimpy half a dB moves. Sometimes, you’ve got to pull down the faders and start from scratch.
7. Know When To Draw The Line
The mix is one of the final steps of the music-making process. After months (or even years) of work, your client must commit to a final product and move forward. For many, this can be a scary moment. It’s common to encounter a lot of insecurity, indecisiveness, and endless tweaking.
If you find the revisions process is dragging on beyond what’s reasonable, you may need to draw the line.
Rather than coldly cutting your client off, explain why committing to a final mix is the best choice for them. Don’t tell them you’re tired of working together. Instead, reaffirm that what they’ve created is exceptional, and that it’s time that they share it with the world.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope this article helps make your next round of revisions easier!