How To Treat The Clients You Don’t Want

To truth be told, whether it’s a client you do or don’t want, you need to treat everyone you do business with the same level of courtesy, respect and thoroughness regardless if they’re your ideal customer/ client or not.  But if you find that there is a person or two who are going to be more trouble than they’re worth; whether it’s too many complaints, frequent late payments, canceling appointments, too many demands outside your scope or just plain obnoxious, get them out the door as quickly as possible with little to no collateral damage in the process.  People who are hard to work with make it hard to do the work.

How to get the unwanted out of hair?

  1. Take the blame – Make it seem like you cannot live up to their expectations or cannot provide them the services or products their looking for.  You’ll win points with being upfront about your supposed shortcomings, and when done early on, you’ll bear less the unpleasantness of working with them.  Double points there.
  2. Direct them to someone else – In this case, you’ll need to have a solid network in place of colleagues to refer unruly clients to.  But be fair to your connections in letting them know why you’re passing on this person.  Some people will take all the business they can get, others will want to target specific clientle too.  Just offer as much of a fair warning as you possibly can.
  3. Bow out gracefully – When you find yourself knee-deep in you-know-what, and the only way to climb out is wave your white flag, DO SO!  Be honest and let your client(s) know that you don’t feel that you’re going to be able to continue working with them (and give them a couple of legitimate reasons as to why) but agree to finish whatever it is you’re working on till it’s complete.  Thank them for their service and wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.
  4. Be polite and helpful – Up until you hand them off.  You may not like them, they may not like but that doesn’t mean you can get away with saying and doing whatever you please because they’ve gotten under your skin.  You never know who they know and how quickly word can spread.  No matter which exit strategy you choose, do it with a smile and a calm tone of voice.  The relationship may be ending, but your image doesn’t need to be tarnished in the process.

As you close out every relationship, make sure you give out your business card again.  No, this is not to rein them back in and relive your headaches, but this is a subtle way to tap into their network of connections and find new and hopefully more pleasant clients.  Let them know that if they have any additional questions or concerns or need of resources, you may be able to to direct them to someone who can help.   And that offer is extended to anyone they know, as well (wink, wink).

 

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