Ever start with a new client only to regret the decision immediately? You know the ones I am speaking of – the disorganized, demanding, high maintenance clients who basically drive you crazy!
These clients fall into the other 80% of the 80/20 rule, the 80% who are responsible for the majority of your headaches and trouble, but NOT the majority of your profits. These are also the clients who drain your customer service resources, sometimes costing you more money than they are worth!
Be firm, be fair, but fire them before you even start!
Watch for these Red Flags BEFORE You Start
Boundary pushing early on in the relationship is a good indicator that there will be even more boundary pushing later on. Typical boundary pushing behavior includes insisting on meeting with you NOW, incessant calling and refusal to ‘Wait in line’ while you finish up your current projects with existing clients.
High maintenance behavior of ANY kind! These are the ones who start off the relationship in a tizzy. And guess what? They continue that way. Watch out for drama and a ‘Poor me’ attitude because trust me, they will bring that drama right to your door if you let them.
Disorganization is a warning sign of even more (you guessed it) disorganization, only this time it’s going to land squarely on your desk. Chances are you will end up spending more time helping them get it together enough that you can even start work! Signs of a disorganized client are showing up late for meetings, not being prepared to hand-off work or failure to respond promptly to requests.
Hurry up and rush is a sure sign that you are dealing with a disorganized and demanding client! They tend to know they need something done for weeks and weeks only to tell you about it moments before the deadline. They have unrealistic expectations and tend to drop problems directly on your desk without warning or apology.
Bargain-hunting and tire-kicking are two red flags that you are dealing with a prospect who shops and buys based solely on price. Unless you are willing to enter the race to the bottom and radically discount your prices, don’t bother. These clients will never be loyal and will jump ship as soon as they find a better deal elsewhere.
Know-it-alls who know nothing THINK they know exactly what they want and if only you could read their minds, you’d be able to do it perfectly. They tend to overlook and over manage to the detriment of the end result because in truth, their lack of ability isn’t the only barrier to success!
Do any of these clients sound like your current clients? Check out our post on how to fire bad clients for tips on letting go of disaster clients!