5 bad client traits and how to deal with them

5 bad client traits and how to deal with them

Awful potential customers will reveal their bad client traits before you decide to work with them.

They won’t hide their behaviour because they’re often oblivious to it. They also don’t see how their actions can be perceived as bad. Like sociopaths, they don’t know that they are one (nor do they care).

Just when you thought being unprofessional meant tattoos and swearing, some prick comes along with zero integrity.

We’re living through the golden age of digital marketing (I’m not sure we are but what a time to be alive) and like true business gentlemen, we let our clients come first.

Social Selling (heaven help us) is about relationship building, so we build those relationships high. Sounds good, I’m down with that, with one caveat—our potentials do their darndest to be the best goddam client we’ve ever had.

Getting a lead is so nice, isn’t it?

Sure, it’s almost like getting those tingles on a good first date but you know almost instantly the ones that will dick you around.

Just like those terrible Tinder meet-ups, we’ve all kissed a few asshats before we found ‘the one’ (or the one of many) but unlike those hookups, we don’t let bastard clients get beyond the DM stage. In reality, some slip through, one might become an actual client. Let’s put an end to that bullshit.

Sit back, grab a beer (depending on when you read this—if you’re an alcoholic, ignore that) and listen to some superb advice on spotting the douche bag clients and how you kick them to the curb.

1. They don’t know you from Adam.

Some will have found you from a Google search so they probably won’t know anything about you.

That’s why it’s your website’s job to tell them all they need to know.

When they make contact, you want them to say, “You’re totally what I’m looking for”. What you don’t want is some guy called Gary saying, “Our mate saw one of your posts on LinkedIn.”

We all know Gary hasn’t bothered to look at your content, least of all your website.

His team have no idea if you’re a good fit for them and they know fuck all about you and your business. And why should they care? They just need a generic circus act/accountant/photographer/magician’s assistant.

You don’t want clients that don’t want what you specifically offer (this is why long-tail keywords are crucial at targeting the right crowd – more on that here).

So when you get that vague, generic-sounding email, direct them to your website. And if you’re website isn’t distinctive enough and clear about who it’s attracting, you really only have yourself to blame.

2. They’re unreliable.

I hate free phone calls. If you get one from me you’ve either paid or I think you’re hot.

If a client misses a scheduled call, it could be for a few reasons. The proper thing to do is cancel ahead of time. But even decent humans forget. When that happens they will apologise profusely because they value your time as much as they do theirs.

Crappy clients don’t care.

They miss calls and deadlines, and often, never apologise for it. Unreliability is a serious red flag. Remember what Jesus said, “don’t treat people like shit if you don’t like being treated like shit”.

3. They’re bad at planning.

Love those clients that need the work this Friday.

Yeah, you don’t want those bastards either. These people have no project management skills. They knew they needed your services but they didn’t factor in a consultation stage. And now you “must” do the work yesterday. What about the business that didn’t research budgets and now can’t afford to hire a hot-shot like you (despite your prices being displayed on your website)?

Time wasters and poor time managers, honestly I wouldn’t trust these people to run a bath.

These problems are not your problems. And even if you can accommodate the work, think long and hard before you do. They will likely be disorganised in all other aspects of their business.

Reiterate your booking process and tell them when you’re next available. I think I’d sever all ties right there. This is the universe telling you these people are to be avoided.

4. They don’t value what you do.

You’ve just spent hours writing a proposal along with a detailed quote only to get this email:

“It’s much higher than we anticipated”

Oh, I’m sorry Karen, that is unfortunate.

What they’re really saying is, we don’t think what you do is worth that much. That could be because they have no clue how what you do generates income for them.

NEVER justify your price.

Bartering with them won’t raise the bar in terms of how you view yourself, or indeed, how clients view you.

If you want to reduce the service to offer a lower cost—go ahead but it will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Don’t work with people that don’t want to throw good money at you.

Publishing your rates will stop half the time wasters. If the work you offer is bespoke, ask what budget they have BEFORE you commit to doing anything.

Tired of being ghosted after a proposal?

Don’t ever sit and wonder what you did wrong—this isn’t prom night, there is no Chad Lexington IV dumping you because he didn’t get to go to second base. Chad is a douche and so is this potential client.

Charge a flat fee for custom quotes.

And if you want, deduct that fee off the project balance when they book. Send quotes and move on with your life. Always state how long the proposal is valid, if they contact you after that period, you reserve the right to refuse the work or evaluate the price.

5. They give shitty briefs. 

Here’s a client who couldn’t organise a murder in a place called Murder Town, located in the murder capital of Deathland.

Having a sparse or vague brief is not a good omen. To be fair, there is only one good omen and that is, Omen. You shouldn’t do anything for these dickwads until they put in the work.

How are you supposed to do your job well without all the info?

Rest assured, these sort of clients will moan like buggery when delivery day comes and you’ve given them something they “weren’t expecting” because you’re not a mind reader.

Communicate well with your potential clients.

Guide and lead your prospects into behaving how you want them to. Create a checklist of items you need before you can begin. It’s also a test. If they can’t be arsed to give you this stuff, you do not want them in your life.

Figure out how you want to herd your prospects—make them follow your process.

Ultimately it’s your fault if you put up with this shit, trust me, you will rue the goddam day you take on a shoddy client.

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