Annoying A$$ Clients

You know those people — they have to send us an email, a text, or dial our number every 5 minutes because they forgot to tell us something when they called 5 minutes ago.  Do they think that’s cute, because it’s not!  And we have clients who are just like this — unless you’re one of the fortunate few.  Seriously, there are clients who become very — I already used annoying in the title, so I’ll say — attached.  They cannot go a single day without texting, or emailing or leaving a voice mail making sure we’re doing our job because they want to make sure we’re on the ball.  They’re trying to lightly keep tabs on us, but in fact, they’re driving us crazy.

But it’s understandable.  I don’t necessary welcome the obsessive attention, but I completely understand where it comes from.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes, who has gone from service provider to service provider with little to no results.  Every time they change persons or companies, they have to start all over again building a relationship and trust only to be let down when it doesn’t work out.  So when they finally come to someone (us) who are actively showing more promise than all the others they’ve dealt with and paid out to, it feels almost to good to be true to them.  They become a little more hands on than they need to be because they want to make sure the progress they’re seeing is real and is going to stay real.

Now, sometimes you’re dealing with a micro-manager, someone who’s use to overseeing every little detail because they want to ensure any work done is getting done to their specifications and to their liking.  In this case, draw a line with them upfront or it’s going to be a battle till the two of your part on unfavorable terms.   For everyone else with an annoying client, but not a micro-manager, the best way to remedy this situation is beat them to the punch.  After your first couple of meetings with your client, get a feel for their expectations, their ideas and the gaps they’re trying to fill. The more often you’re able to provide close to, if not exactly what they need, the less likely they’re going to be nagging at you.  It’s really that simple.  You may find them a little frustrating to work with in the beginning, but start over-delivering and surpassing their expectations.  That annoying-ness will disappear.

You can call it good business sense, you call it Psych 101, just don’t let them keep calling you.

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The Seahawks Won!

…and frankly I don’t care.  That’s not to say that I wanted the Denver Broncos to win.  It’s just that I’m not a football in the least and definitely not someone who clings every year waiting for the next Super Bowl.  There’s something about freely giving up my precious time to hours of inactivity — especially watching television — that produces no return that boggles my mind.  It’s borderline absurd to know that millions of people do this everyday.  Well, not watching the Super Bowl because that’s an annul event, but throwing time and money away.  The winning team gets the rings and the fans get to fight traffic or clean up the house.  Sorry, but that’s not the kind of return I’m looking for on my time.

Listen, I watch TV too, I understand the need to unwind and let your mind not be “on” for awhile.  I also understand that time is my greatest asset and money is not too far down the list.  And I’m not special when it comes to that fact.  Time and money is valuable to everyone.  So, how is it people are willing to spend thousands of dollars (if they’re out of state, think of the travel, board and food as well as the tickets) to see a game in which no matter what team is the victor, they gain nothing –expect for being there. I’m not trying to be condescending here, I really want to explore what makes people give up — willingly, mind you — two very important aspects of their livelihood for nothing in hand.

Seahawks

I’m gonna simplify this in a manner that any football fan will hate my guts for — oh, well.  Deal.  What is the Super Bowl?  What makes the event so exciting that there’s buzz before, during and after it’s airing?  People will be talking about the game for weeks.  But why? Because of another wardrobe malfunction or Illuminanti suspicion? No.  Honestly, I think it’s because everyone wants to be a winner, even vicariously.  How many times have we heard “my team won” or “my team lost”?  Nobody I know owns a sports team unless they happen to know Mark Cuban, in which case, some elbows need to be rubbing right about now.  But attaching ourselves to a team or an organization gives a sense a victory when they win.  We see ourselves as winners too.

So how does the business owner rally fans like a Super Bowl team?  Do we have to create a buzz  or find well-known brand ambassadors?  Or do we simply just share our victories with our supporters?  Every time we win, our clients win, our customers wins.  Our employees should win too.  Success is shared.  Kicking butt is always fun, but so is winning.  And that’s what people gravitate towards — being a part of a winning team, winning by association.

But even the teams that don’t make it to the Super Bowl have fans.  Because they’re favorite — over another team, over another state — what have you.  Their fans believe they possess something no other team has and it’s more than the potential to win.

Be a favorite, rally fans and share your victories.  It seems easier in writing, but so does going to the Super Bowl, right?

Money Matters

Money MattersSometimes we get overly excited about a new client or a new project that we glaze over the issue of payment, especially in our early days of running a business.  We know the end result is collecting on the invoice, we just don’t want to seem too pushy about it.  We don’t want to offend anyone or seem to focused on getting paid rather than doing a good job.  But in doing so, we neglect important information that can save us a headache or two down the road.  Why do many of us gingerly address the issue of money?  Are we afraid that being straightforward will turn away prospect clients?  Are we trying to soften the blow by downplaying the fact we eventually want to get paid for our time and services?  The exchange of goods and services for payment is what makes the economy what it is.  When doing business, it should be obvious that money matters.  And such matters should not be a shock to our clients or hard to address for us.

 

  • Don’t shy away from talking about your fees.   If they’re pricey, explain why and the real worth of the service your clients are getting.  Show them the value outweighs the cost.
  • Be upfront about late fees.  And you should have late fees.  It deters clients from consistently making late payments.   If that’s not enough of a deterrent, make those late fees multiply.
  • Be willing to work with your client’s budget by offering a payment plan.  It’s easy to set up, terms can be to your preference and it shows your client that you’re willing to work with them.
  • Get it in writing.   Every financial transaction you have with a client, should be in writing.  You never want to take a client to court but you should have to, you want to make sure you covered your butt by producing an agreement of payment for services rendered.
  • Don’t be afraid to offer a refund or a reimbursement, but don’t broadcast it.  Refunds should be given on a case-by-case  scenario as a last resort.  If you can’t offer something in exchange of a refund — a coupon, a discount, a freebie, something — then go ahead and negotiate a refund.
  • Yes, negotiate refunds.  You may not have to offer one depending on what you can substitute it with and you may not have to offer one in full.  Talk to your client, come to an agreement and work out something in both parties’ best interests.

Money shouldn’t be a overly delicate topic, particularly with clients.  It’s a tool. Used to purchase, pay, and transact.  We use money the same way our clients and understand its value just the same.  So the next time you sit down with a client, don’t be a afraid to talk money, but also talk value.  Remind them that money is what they’re giving to you, but value is what they’re getting in return.

 

Fighting Frustration

Frustration is the probably one of the biggest killers of motivation and success.  Frustration freezes us up and locks us down.  When we’re frustrated, it’s challenging to get any thing done, let alone operate a business.  Are minds wander,  we’re unfocused, we second guess ourselves and we get fed up.  Frustration eats at patience and productivity.  It’s kills our best laid plans, our time and energy.  And all the while we let it beat us, because despite how we feel when we’re frustrated, we’re still in control of all the associated emotions that come along with being frustrated.  But fighting the feelings of frustration isn’t about counting to ten and declaring you’re over it.  It’s about identifying what causes our frustrations and separating ourselves from it as best we can.

Ever had a supplier consistently late with delivery a service or shipment?  Annoying?  Yeah.  Frustrating? Down right!  Ever had a client make excuses as to why they can’t pay now?  Irritating?  Yes.  Frustrating?  Absolutely!

First things first, identify what causes your frustrations.  A lot of the times when you’re running a business, it’s going to be people.  As awful as that sounds, it’s the truth. People are going to frustrated the hell out of you if they haven’t already.  And to make matters worse, you can’t avoid them.  Particular people, maybe, but people in general, no.  Learn to cope and handle the people who are causing you grief.  Usually, a first round of communication can do the trick.  Tell the person(s) involved what issues you’re having with them are and what possible solutions you’ve thought up that could fix the problem.  Ask for their suggestions if they’re willing to work with you not making it a problem anymore.   If they’re not willing to work with you, drop them like a hot rock.  Really?  No.  Work through your frustrations and make your frustrations work for you so that you’re not losing any momentum in the interim.

  • Write down what is causing you to be frustrated/annoyed/ pissed of
  • Identify what solutions you can take RIGHT NOW that could either fix them or make it less of a problem
  • Keep a detailed record of all the stuff that drives you crazy — you’re going to want to be to log and track this, especially if there seems to be a routine involved.
  • Distance yourself from people who cause you to get upset or annoy quickly.  If it’s a client you must do business with, limit your communication with them to emails instead of phone calls, and instant messages instead of in-person meetings
  • Take time for yourself.  Once a week.  It may sound like a lot, but giving yourself at least one hour once a week will help you decompress everything you’re dealing with.
  • Channel that frustration — whether you have an exercise regime or side hobby, you still have useful energy you don’t want to waste.

Ups and downs are expected when we step into the role of business owner.  And there are going to be plenty of challenges along the way.  Those challenges don’t own us, we own them.  And no matter how frustrating a situation is getting or has become, we can always take back the reins.

 

 

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).

 

Defining Gratitude

Gratitude

It’s what keep’s customers and clients coming back.

It’s what keeps the doors open and the foot traffic moving.

It’s what ships out the inventory and keeps the orders coming in.

It’s what keeps relationships between suppliers, vendors, colleagues and connections going.

It’s not a sign of weakness to be grateful and it doesn’t make you less capable of achieving bigger and better things.

There’s nothing wrong with showing a little humility and gratitude for the things you have…

and the rewards that are coming your way.

Often it’s shown to us inside of a tip jar, a suggestions box, in an email or a thank you note.

It’s not fancy or well endowed.

It’s not flashy or gaudy.

It is GRATITUDE.

For the business given, the business you have and the business to come.

It’s not expected but it’s always welcomed.