Prevention is better than cure, right? Alot of chaos and frustrations brought on by difficult clients especially to small or medium sized businesses. Lucky for you below are a set of tips to help you identify difficult clients before signing a contact to work with or for them that will really come in handy in your entrepreneurial journey. To help identify difficult clients before they even sign a contract.
- Their project or work is “easy” and will take “no time at all” – clients say they just want a simple website, product to manage their small shop but nothing is ever as simple as it seems. In most cases they are minimizing so as to avoid the actual charge of the services they actually need.
- They have unrealistic deadlines or are vague about deadlines – if you let clients dictate tight deadlines to the extent it disrupts your other work, it demonstrates they don’t value your business and without a doubt they will mess up your time frame and disrupt your other work.
- They complain over every aspect of your rates – If they can’t afford you, then they can look elsewhere especially if you have given them various packages to choose from and they are still not okay with even the lowest rates. Trying to force you to give them unreasonable discounts shows they don’t respect your time or skills.
- The words “I fired the last consultant” come out of their mouth – it could be that they were completely innocent and the last company was just terrible, but far more likely there were issues on both sides especially with themselves and chances are they may end up being a handful for you too.
- Trust your gut – Even if everything else checks out, if your gut says a client isn’t a good fit, then you should listen. There are always more clients to be found and as the Swahili say “chema cha jiuza” which means if you have done a good job especially in creating and packaging your products and are dedicated to providing your clients with awesome customers care, the a lot of clients will definitely come your way, as you advertise yourself.
There are other things you can do to avoid picking up more difficult clients:
Under-promise and over-deliver
If we go back to psychology for a moment, think about this: it’s much easier to impress a client if you first give yourself the room to provide exceptional service.
Saying yes to every deadline, extra feature and demand creates the expectation that you’ll meet those demands, even if for you, they’re actually quite a stretch. The client assumes their demands are the norm and with no objection, they will definitely expect you to over perform.
However, if you set good and reasonable expectations for your client and actually say no when you feel that this will be difficult achieve in regard to the time frame set, always feel free to tell the client the truth.
Instead, impress by under-promising and over-delivering every time. If you manage to meet their deadline after all, you will be their hero and they will praise you to their family, friends and colleagues. and the whole dynamic between you and the client shifts.
Don’t compromise your values
If a client asks you to do something that’s against your professional ethics, or you feel yourself morally challenged, then go with your gut and move the client on if you can let them down politely and show them that its more on betraying your values and morals, most will back off. Your integrity is worth more than what any client could pay you to try to cheat the system and in most cases such incidences come back to haunt you especially when you get exposed and your name gets tarnished.
Increase your prices
It’s truly funny but it’s true, the difficult clients are also those who tend to be the clients who pay late, dispute invoices, or try to outsmart more work out of you for free.
Raising your fees will help you to move these clients along and new clients to avoid you, while the resulting increase to your bottom line from your remaining clients will help your cash flow while you fill the gaps in your client schedule.
Improve your contract/engagement letter
Check all your contracts and agreements with a lawyer. Make sure you are protected against litigation if you fire a client, and that all the terms and conditions are in line with your processes and company values. Yes, you can too fire your client and it is very legal.
You want to make sure that should you end if with another difficult client, you’re able to get out of the contract with your integrity and company intact and your name is not dragged in the mud due to all that even after the dust settles.
As business owners and entreprenuers the goal of course is to make a profit and grow your business and the best way is by providing your clients with your amazing products and services. One effective way would be have a CRM that keep records of customers, including the sales process. Robisearch ltd,