When customers get sticker shock, they're likely to grill you: What is it about this product that makes it cost so much? If you're using desktop publishing technology, they may expect something for nothing because it looks so easy. Marketing and communications firms, in particular, are directly threatened by do-it-yourself technology.

Rather than talk until she was blue in the face about how much work still goes into a project despite the miraculous software, Carol Lasky, owner of Cahoots!, a small, Boston-based marketing-communications firm, depends upon trade journal articles to give customers the big picture.

"We educate customers about how our field has changed as a result of electronic publishing," says Lasky. "For example, I faxed one customer an article on ownership rights of electronic files. If that customer asks for a copy of a file and I say there will be a fee for it, he won't be surprised. Enlightened customers understand where we are coming from and are less likely to make unreasonable demands upon us. With fewer disappointments, customers are more satisfied overall."

Copyright 1998 G+J USA Publishing