5 bad client traits and how to deal with them

Some people are so unprofessional aren’t they? All those tattoos, all that swearing. Of course, I jest, and actually you know, (because you’re not an idiot) that those things don’t mean a damn when it comes to judging how decent a person is in business. 

It’s the Golden Age of digital marketing and like any true gentleman, our clients come first (up to a point). Social Selling is about relationship building, so build relationships yeah! I’m all on board with that, with one caveat – your prospects step up to the plate as a decent client, or they need to take a walk.

I don’t know if we’re living in a Golden Age of digital marketing. Most of what I say can rarely be supported.

Getting a lead is so nice, isn’t it? But you know almost instantly the ones that will dick you around. This post goes out to those B2B peeps that have had enough of bad (client) love. Sit back, grab a beer (or tea, depending on what time you’re reading this. If you’re an alcoholic, ignore that) and listen to some superb advice on spotting the douche bag clients and how you deal with them.

1. They don’t know you from Adam

Look, you’re not a celebrity (you might be), some prospects will have found you from a Google search so they probably won’t know anything about you. Your website should tell them all they need to know. When they make contact, you want them to say, “I love your stuff, you’re totally what I’m looking for”. What you don’t want is 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. They 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? They “just” need a generic circus act/accountant/photographer/magician’s assistant.

Gently explain what it is you do and encourage them to take a look at your website before they make any further decision/waste your time.

2. They’re unreliable

I hate phone calls. If you get one from me I really am sweet on you, but you better make sure you’re there to pick up. If a client misses a scheduled meeting or call, it might be that they forgot. Sure if they cancel ahead of time, give them the benefit of the doubt. They’re only human, they make mistakes. But don’t keep falling for the same mistake over again. 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 crap at planning

Love those clients that need the work this Friday – or better still, now! Yeah, you don’t want those bastards either. What’s happened in that situation is they forgot about hiring you. They knew they needed what you offer but they didn’t factor in a consultation stage. That is their problem 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, like paying you.

Reiterate your booking process, and tell them when you’re next available.

And if you don’t have a client process, hang your head in shame. It shows prospects you’re serious about your work. It also gives them a clear idea of what you expect of them.

4. They don’t value what you do

You’ve just spent hours writing a proposal along with a detailed quote only to get that inevitable 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. Avoid justifying your price. If you want to reduce the service and give them a lower cost – great. I don’t waste my time and actually I avoid creating proposals for these people in the first place.

When you need to create a quote ask what budget they have before you invest precious hours. Get them to fill out a simple online questionnaire. Make the budget field mandatory. If they can’t complete this simple task, you’ll know they’re not serious about hiring you.

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). Over-communicate 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, and make sure they follow your process, trust me, you will rue the goddamn day you take on a shoddy client.

Are you my perfect client, can you follow simple instructions? If so, take a look at what I can help you with:

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