How to Avoid Clients from Hell

 

It happens to every business. You unknowingly acquire or sell to a client from hell. You and your sales team don’t intend to do it but it happens. Usually the red flags are noticed, but undaunted you soldier on and head right towards disaster.

Every one of my clients, at one time or another have had to deal with this issue.

The reasons they tell me are similar. On the surface the client looks a little weird but, okay. Their right brain, which is usually more optimistic than your analytical left brain, tells them the project has the potential of being very profitable and they figure they can work with the quirkiness of the client.

The agreement is signed, a deposit is received and the now fun begins. What you earlier thought might be a concern is now absolutely a confirmed red flag. The client begins to exhibit any or many of the following behaviors:

  • Late for or misses prearranged phone or Zoom meetings
  • Wont’ return phone calls
  • Contradicts what they said earlier
  • Wants to change the agreement
  • Ask for more than was agreed to (scope creep)
  • Constantly complains of past companies like yours that they hired
  • Constantly trying to negotiate your price down
  • Berates or mistreats your employees
  • Late on payments or worse yet, they do not pay

Having to put up with these kind of clients from hell does not have to happen to you and your business. Here is how to stop it from happening in the future, or at least minimize it.

A helpful tool I recommend to all of my clients is something you can create quite easily for you and your team. Here is how to create it.

At the top of an Excel spreadsheet put the title: The Red Flags of a Client from Hell

Then type out the first subheading: Characteristics a Client Must Not Have. Below it, list as many of the unwanted characteristics or behaviors of potential clients you want to avoid.

I recommend a 5-point value for every single characteristic a Client Must Not Have. Give yourself a limit of how many points you will tolerate in a new client.

The next time you have a potential client that you sense could become a client from hell use the spreadsheet and scoring system to help your left brain, which is usually more analytical, determine whether you want to pursue this potential client any further. If the total points add up to more than 15, or the number of points you set as a limit, politely refer that prospective client to someone else.

I will caution you. “Remember the saying, Like attracts like”. It is a funny thing about what some people call “Karma”, what goes around, comes around. If you or any of your team members exhibit any of these behaviors towards your vendors or the people your purchase products or services from, stop doing them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tom Borg


My name is Tom Borg. I am a business expert who works with small and mid-size companies to effectively and profitably improve customer acquisition and retention. I help these businesses through his use of my consulting, speaking, training and coaching. To ask me a question or to hire me, please contact me at: (734) 404-5909 or email me at: tom@tomborg.com or visit my website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com

Tom Borg