Four Signs your Client is Toxic
Yay! Your business is flourishing. Sales are through the roof and you’re no longer struggling to get clients in through the doors. But alas here comes the client from hell. The one who always has a problem, drains you financially and emotionally, and wholeheartedly believes that there will never be a solution to their problem. You wonder why did they come to you in the first place?
Here’s how to spot an impossible client way before you’ve given them all of your valuable time and energy.
Changes Scope Frequently
This is the type of client that doesn’t have a clear-cut vision for their company. They begin with one project drop it after a week and ask you to hop on board immediately with their new concept. Better yet, they ask you to throw away all of the work that you’ve done and start something new. Than they come back next week and ask to change again. This is a sign that the client needs to take a step back and that you need to assign boundaries.
They call you at all hours of the day and expect answers. They request to meet you when you have meetings with other clients and will not take NO for an answer. They expect that all phone calls will be returned within five minutes and if they are not returned than they continue to call back until their requests are approved. This client’s aggressiveness is a clear indication of their lack of respect for your business.
Talks Without Listening
Don’t ever have a conversation with anyone who TALKS at you and is unwilling to listen while your talking. Yeah. Enough said.
Drastic Price Negotiation Requests
As business owners and entrepreneurs we are skilled in the art of negotiation but as women we are taught to accommodate the needs of others. Therefore, there are more clients who will attempt to downplay the scope of work that a woman owned business would provide. They will haggle down fees, ask to eliminate contracts, ask for enhanced services, lowball you and completely undermine you and your business. This client will strong-arm you into believing that you are not worthy of their business. Do not fall for this!!!
But if this client has already fallen into your lap here are some things that you can do….
Plan Ahead by having a Plan
The best way to deal with a toxic client head on is to have a plan in place. The plan identifies what are your non-negotiables in a business/client relationship and if they are breeched how you will communicate the needs of your business effectively. Ensure that this is covered in your contracts as well. This will ensure that you will have something to refer to during future discussions.
If your client is combative simply inform them that you are in need of clarity. Ask them for step-by-step directions in writing about their specific needs. This will alleviate future communication problems as well as offer you something to refer to in the future.
Talk it Out
Resist that overwhelming urge to run and face the situation head on. Not only is it the rational way the handle the problem it is the healthiest option as well. Save your energy to create business and not combat problems. Ensure that you are wholeheartedly listening to the clients needs and that their expectations are realistic.
Just say No
And if all else fails just say no!
Remember that every problem that arises is actually a new opportunity for you and your business.
By Melissa Fino