Friday, August 28, 2015

Trade Secrets - Managing Clients

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will occasionally feature one section from the guide. This week's post is from Chapter Three: Our Clients.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information.

Treat Your Clients Well

“The type of customer we get depends on where we meet them. If we are on the Internet in a higher paying site, we meet that customer. If we are under a dark bridge at four in the morning, we meet that customer. If you have an attitude like you’re going to rip off a customer or are being a bitch, the customer will reflect that attitude. We are also in their space; our energy can change the mood.”

The following tips will help you promote safe and healthy experiences with your clients, and protect other sex industry workers as well. These tips come from many sex industry workers - choose the ones that work for you.

  • Be honest and upfront from the beginning. Let them know you aren’t looking for trouble.
  • Treat customers with the same respect you would like to be treated with.
  • Don’t rip off customers.
  • Do not lie about yourself (weight, hair colour, non-smoker, etc). Overt false advertising makes customers mad - sometimes bringing them to act violently towards their next service provider.
  • Do not steal from their home. If you want more money, raise your rates and learn new skills to provide a better service.
  • With Domination, you hear a lot of crazy requests. Try to be as non-judgemental as possible, but feel comfortable in asserting your boundaries.
  • Be careful when attempting to expand your services. If you change your mind after you’ve tried to offer something new (Greek, etc), you could get assaulted as many clients hate to be refused once in session.
  • Treat each customer the same regardless of how you feel about him or her personally.
  • Understand that the way you treat a client will have a ripple effect on the next sex industry worker and so on. Watch each other’s backs.
  • Perform what you have negotiated.
  • Treat them like people. You're a customer service professional, your job is to provide a person with a service, not look down on him for seeking the service.
  • Respect your client’s right to privacy.
  • Engaging in fun conversation is part of the territory. This can include some personal topics and questions. Whenever you talk about something personal, be sure to include a non-intrusive comment such as “…if you don’t mind my asking”.
  • Be nice to the nice ones. If they are mean, end the session immediately.
  • Agree on a price, time, location, etc and stick to it. They don’t like surprises any more than we do.
  • Don’t humiliate them (unless that’s a part of the agreement).
  • Don’t leave marks (unless that’s a part of the agreement).
  • Always remember – you’re in charge. That means the work is on your terms and on your time. Don’t compromise your values or your safety. For example, if you have set a limit at no contact, or no GFE (Girl Friend Experience), don’t let the customer convince you to change your mind in the middle of your session.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries – they are a client, not your boyfriend or girlfriend. Respect that they have a life outside of you.
  • Do not treat clients with contempt because of their appearance, their age, their race, their penis size, or the length of time it took them to reach orgasm.
  • If you treat clients well with all your heart, they can feel it.
  • Know your own personal boundaries and communicate these clearly to your customers. Do not let customers persuade you to go beyond the boundaries you have set for yourself. Do not let other workers' personal boundaries influence your own behaviour.
  • Do an interview to find out his interests or if he has disabilities (joint problems) before the session starts and let him know your protocol – meaning how you will behave.
  • Make sure your client has a safe word or hand movement if gagged.
  • Be personable. Sometimes they want to talk.
  • Don’t clock watch.
  • Be conscious of the cultural traditions of your clients, when possible.
  • Treat your client with honesty as far as what is consistent with the entertainment and fantasy aspects of the service.
  • Do not call them tricks or marks or other demeaning terms.

Seduction Techniques

Sex industry work is all about selling a product. The more pleasant, engaging, and attractive you are, the more likely the customer will come back. Here is some useful advice from Trade Secrets contributors for attracting and keeping customers:

  • Look at what other workers are doing, and try to improve it in a low cost way. Make yourself unique, but don’t spend a ton of money doing it.
  • Eye contact is an amazing trick with customers. If they feel that you are dancing strictly for them, the money pours out.
  • Utilize what works for you, find your niche and you’ll be able to work it.
  • Confidence is one of the biggest techniques. Know you are ‘the shit’ (exactly what they’re looking for) and they will think so too.
  • Treat them like they are lovers that you chose and that you’re privileged to be with.
  • If you work in your home, make sure the place is clean and that the room you work in has everything you might need (towels, lube, condoms, music, lighting, toys etc.)
  • Keep notes on your repeat clients so that you can express appropriate interest in them as people.
  • Smile.
  • Provide excellent services and be patient with clients.
  • Tease, tease, tease …keep them wanting more!
  • If you take off your clothes, take a long time undressing, doing it slowly and seductively.
  • If you are a contact sex worker, engage in lots of foreplay.
  • If you massage, give oral, etc, use your breath on their skin.
  • Lots of “looky no touchy” works well to turn them on and keep them squirming.
  • Learn about YOUR body and what angles, clothes, lighting, expressions, and poses, look good on YOU. Practice in front of a mirror, camera or a friend to get all your looks just right.
  • Develop your own style. What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from your colleagues?
  • Ask your customer what he/she wants. Take the time to find their special turn-ons. Everyone is different.
  • Really listen to their words and body language. They’ll appreciate you for this on more levels than just sexually.
  • Be knowledgeable about current news and events.
  • Dance like everyone watching is important.
  • Be professional, learn pole tricks and sexy moves.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake.
  • Get some super sexy photos for your ads.
  • Keep a spreadsheet with info about clients so you can remember details about their lives.
  • Keep a positive attitude and provide excellent customer service.
  • Make the clients worship you!
  • Have impeccable posture, exude confidence, don’t be defensive or ever feel the need to explain yourself, and walk and move very slowly and deliberately.

Conflicts with Clients

“All of the conflicts were arguments over what sexual services I would not offer, and also because I refused to give out personal information (phone number, email, etc) or meet my clients outside of work.”

“I created a ‘fictional life’ for my companion persona. I always use those stories. If excessive questions are asked, I usually say, “Why are you asking?” I keep turning the questions back on people who ask questions.”

Conflicts with customers are inevitable, as they are in any service industry. Some customers will pester you for services you don’t offer, try to talk you down from your price, or try to control you in some other way.

If you show up to a date and your booking person misguided him about your appearance, you are about to experience a conflict. If a guy from front row yells obscenities during your first song, you are about to experience a conflict.

Learn to anticipate potential conflict so you are ready to respond quickly and decisively.

You can also reduce conflicts for other workers. Remember that it is not necessary to return the slander a customer spews out. There is a sex industry worker coming after you who may receive the blunt of it.

If you work in more than one area of the sex industry, try to keep them separate. For instance, don’t offer hand jobs under the guise of exotic dancing. Or if you do, ensure the men understand not to expect that of other exotic dancers.

If you find yourself in a conflict with a client and you are having trouble getting control of the situation, ask the client to stop the behaviour in question. If you work in an establishment with security, have the client removed. If you are working alone and the client is drunk or abusive, end the session and leave immediately.

Be very alert as to how you are treated. If you can see that a customer is trying to disrespect you or demean you, end the session and leave immediately. Say, “I am unable to proceed with this appointment.” If you work for an agency, request not to see that person again. Network with other sex workers to inform each other of “bad dates.”

Web cam work frequently results in being verbally abused online. The free chat option allows haters unlimited access to sex industry workers. The best thing to do is to ignore them and stay smiling. Nicer clients will surely come to your defense, or would rather book a show.

Don't waste your time with the jerkasses. And, make sure you can debrief with someone, as verbal abuse against sex workers is a hate crime and can be very demoralizing.

Talking to Customers

The way we talk to clients is very important and can impact our experiences. Some sex workers try not to say “no” or use words that make the client feel judged, thereby avoiding conflicts that stem from a client’s guilt or shame. For example, instead of saying “no” to anal intercourse, they will say something hot and cliché like “I want to feel your cock in my pussy.”

Figure out what services you’re comfortable with and make sure you know how to communicate this in an assertive, but non-aggressive way.

Clients don’t like hearing “no” or seeing that a worker is uncomfortable or tense. It creates stress, and stress between a worker and a client can lead to violence. Try to firmly lead the client to a comfortable service experience.

Of course, it doesn’t always work since for some clients, conflict is what they are actually seeking.

Drugs and Alcohol

Working with clients while they are high on drugs or alcohol can be very challenging. Many sex industry workers refuse to work with clients who are intoxicated. In some areas, such as liquor-licensed strip clubs, you don’t have much choice.

Managing someone who is drunk or high takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. Behaving in a caring but firm manner will sometimes work. However, if the client is clearly out of control, your best bet is to hightail it out of there pronto.

If a client comes to you with coke-dick, try to suggest something other than intercourse, such as a hand job. Make jokes like, “Maybe you shouldn’t have done that last line.” Say it playfully, especially if he’s trying to blame you as the reason he isn’t hard.

What Your Clients Want You to Know

“Have a good show. Variety and originality are good. Be clean. Be attractive. Have fun or act like you’re enjoying yourself. Comedy is a must. Talk to patrons. Circulate the crowd. Come back again. Maybe the patron just wasn’t ready.”

Customers want you to know:

  • They like comedy and personality.
  • Body language is very important.
  • Clients like you to communicate your limits and expectations.
  • Good clients want you to enjoy your experience too.

Surprisingly, most customers would rather pass on business advice to you than tell you how to do your job. 

Clients advise you to save your money, create a future, and don’t waste money on drinking or drugs. Keep your appointments. And remember that repeat business is good.

About Trade Secrets 

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts with information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

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