What to do when a potential client cant take constructive criticism?

33 replies
Basically I had someone ask me why they weren't getting many comments on their FB page posts when they have +700 likes. I said that either their likes weren't targeted properly and their fans don't like the content or that the content isn't being presented properly and isn't attention catching. Naturally I am a "fool" and that I shouldn't "insult" peoples hard work

How do you deal with people don't take constructive criticism?
#client #constructive #criticism #potential
  • Profile picture of the author ae2080
    I would either drop the client or find another way to get your point across.

    Most entrepreneurs are stubborn and don't like criticism from anyone. If it is worth the money and time then keep them but otherwise drop them if they keep giving you a hard time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
      Yeah he told me not to "insult" a potential client. I told him straight out that I don't want a client who can't take criticism. What's the point of hiring me to help you and not even listen to my suggestions, he's just wasting his money and my time.
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  • Tell him that he has to act normal if he wants this relationship to continue.
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    • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
      I just cut ties with him, it's not worth my time to argue with him for no reason. He can find someone to get him 1000000000000K Facebook likes in a day.

      His exact words were "It's not that they don't like my content, they just don't pay attention to it"

      I responded with "You need to make it more interesting, and worth their time to read"

      Then the tears rolled in

      Gotta love customer service
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      • Profile picture of the author 4DayWeekend
        Tell him that it's a Facebook bug that applies only to his page. The bug is stopping the thousands of comments that he receives daily from displaying on the page.

        Tell him lots of people have tried to comment because the content is the most engaging you've seen & his likes are laser targeted.

        Tell him to call Facebook and see if they can correct the problem. After all, it must be their fault - the work on the page is so perfect it's impossible for their not to be more comments.

        Then after that, stop pursuing him as a client. He sounds like way too much hard work.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Coutts
        Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

        I just cut ties with him, it's not worth my time to argue with him for no reason. He can find someone to get him 1000000000000K Facebook likes in a day.

        His exact words were "It's not that they don't like my content, they just don't pay attention to it"

        I responded with "You need to make it more interesting, and worth their time to read"

        Then the tears rolled in

        Gotta love customer service
        When people don't pay attention to something, it's usually because they don't like it!

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        • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
          Those last 3 posts made my day, lmao so true!
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          • Profile picture of the author Craig Paulson
            I wouldn't just walk away from a difficult client without putting them through my "difficult client" funnel first. Telling to to go away will feel good for the moment, but look at it as a learning moment instead. You're going to have difficult clients/customers. Best to develop a system for dealing with them rather than just dismissing them.

            First, don't take ANYTHING personally. Whatever your client is saying, he is because of issues in his life and/or his business, not your work. Found out all the possible reasons why the "problem" he "perceives" may in fact be real. Present those to him using the Feel, Felt, Found delivery (you can Google that).

            I would only walk away if his complaining is irrational and is taking up your time from other money making projects.
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            • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
              Originally Posted by Craig Paulson View Post

              You're going to have difficult clients/customers. Best to develop a system for dealing with them rather than just dismissing them.
              I have a system for dealing with them... it's called "dismiss them ASAP".

              Seriously... those types of clients are rarely (if ever) worth the hassle. IMO, there are enough clients out there that appreciate what you do, that you shouldn't waste ANY time on the ones who don't.
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              • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
                Yeah its not worth the energy IMO
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  • Profile picture of the author Walter Parrish
    Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

    Basically I had someone ask me why they weren't getting many comments on their FB page posts when they have +700 likes. I said that either their likes weren't targeted properly and their fans don't like the content or that the content isn't being presented properly and isn't attention catching. Naturally I am a "fool" and that I shouldn't "insult" peoples hard work

    How do you deal with people don't take constructive criticism?
    Realize that most people online are just socializing including business owners so rather than being direct and telling them that they failed, try socializing and offering suggestions to the problem they have.
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    • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
      Originally Posted by Walter Parrish View Post

      Realize that most people online are just socializing including business owners so rather than being direct and telling them that they failed, try socializing and offering suggestions to the problem they have.
      I understand what you're saying, but I offered a few solutions. I was very cordial throughout most of the conversation as well. I never meant any of it to be rude, and was just offering my opinion. I told him to take it with a grain of salt, but he wasn't having any of it. It is what it is....you live and you learn, then you move on to the next one
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  • Profile picture of the author allegandro
    Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

    Basically I had someone ask me why they weren't getting many comments on their FB page posts when they have +700 likes. I said that either their likes weren't targeted properly and their fans don't like the content or that the content isn't being presented properly and isn't attention catching. Naturally I am a "fool" and that I shouldn't "insult" peoples hard work

    How do you deal with people don't take constructive criticism?
    I know what you mean, one day I search for cooperation with a dating website. I had many man, he had many woman. I did trust the website, but the website looked like a pure disaster. When we talked about the cooperation and I mentioned that I like to help him to improve his website (FOR FREE) he exploded of anger. He could I be so rude, to insult him, he worked for many years on it and it was his pride......

    It never came to an cooperation as you can imagine, and after 4 years, his website still looks the same...

    My advice, if they are very proud of what they did, let them tell you what they want to change. Compliment them with their work till now, and ask them: "what if you could change something about your work, what would it be?" So you give him the feeling that he is in control and you never have to be the first.
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  • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
    Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

    How do you deal with people don't take constructive criticism?
    I would point out that the entire reason they are asking for advice is because they don't understand what's happening. Then tell them they can keep doing what they're doing if they prefer but that it won't work.

    I've done that multiple times and the people keep trying it that way but eventually come back when they realize that it isn't working.
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    This is why I would never be a coach. You can't pay me enough to "deal" with people.
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    • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
      It's not bad...most people are humble...you just get the random know it all looking for assistance for some reason
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    What you should have told him was 700 likes is nothing and he needs to add another zero before he can expect to have decent engagement.

    If people don't take my constructive criticism, especially if they asked for it, i generally don't waste my time with them anymore.

    This guy is a "potential" client of yours. Let go and move on so you can find someone who will appreciate your feedback and pay you to help.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

    Basically I had someone ask me why they weren't getting many comments on their FB page posts when they have +700 likes. I said that either their likes weren't targeted properly and their fans don't like the content or that the content isn't being presented properly and isn't attention catching. Naturally I am a "fool" and that I shouldn't "insult" peoples hard work

    How do you deal with people don't take constructive criticism?
    Tell him to stop acting like a little b** ch!
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  • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
    If he asked for constructive criticism, he should have taken it, but the old adage holds true: it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If you came off as rude, aggressive, or snobby when you told him that his content wasn't attention-grabbing, you can see why he responded that way. (Unsolicited criticism isn't cool, however.)
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I'd have told him:

      I pointed out to you all the possible reasons why the situation exists, none is an insult, they're just how things work with FaceBook. I have the skills to determine exactly what's happening and fix it. Do you want to do something about it?

      If he just continued to be insulted, I'd have given him my card and said, Call me if you ever want to fix it. Bye.
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    • Profile picture of the author bhuff85
      Originally Posted by Zabrina View Post

      If he asked for constructive criticism, he should have taken it, but the old adage holds true: it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If you came off as rude, aggressive, or snobby when you told him that his content wasn't attention-grabbing, you can see why he responded that way. (Unsolicited criticism isn't cool, however.)
      You can try your best to be as nice as possible, but those who don't care to be criticized will always be offended.

      It doesn't matter what line of business you're in - you'll always come across a few "bad eggs" in the bunch. The good thing is that it's up to you to decide who you want to work with.

      For every one client that doesn't value your services, there are 9 more who will. It's best to move on and find those who actually want you to help them succeed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
      Originally Posted by Zabrina View Post

      If he asked for constructive criticism, he should have taken it, but the old adage holds true: it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If you came off as rude, aggressive, or snobby when you told him that his content wasn't attention-grabbing, you can see why he responded that way. (Unsolicited criticism isn't cool, however.)
      Very true, but to hire me for the specific purpose of giving a critique...then getting mad is a different story.

      Was I supposed to say "your page is awesome, thanks for your money!"
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      • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
        Originally Posted by bhuff85 View Post

        You can try your best to be as nice as possible, but those who don't care to be criticized will always be offended.

        It doesn't matter what line of business you're in - you'll always come across a few "bad eggs" in the bunch. The good thing is that it's up to you to decide who you want to work with.

        For every one client that doesn't value your services, there are 9 more who will. It's best to move on and find those who actually want you to help them succeed.
        Definitely true. I've run across the sort, but I love being a freelancer so I can choose which clients to take on. It's a lot better here than in the corporate world!

        Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

        Very true, but to hire me for the specific purpose of giving a critique...then getting mad is a different story.

        Was I supposed to say "your page is awesome, thanks for your money!"
        That is a bit strange! As long as you provided specific, actionable improvements, critique is certainly justified when you're hired to provide it. :p They may have felt that you were attacking them, rather than their work, and reacted strongly accordingly. Best to put them through the difficult client funnel referenced above or move on, whichever your gut instinct tells you.
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      • Profile picture of the author KuhNoodle
        Originally Posted by Biedec48 View Post

        Very true, but to hire me for the specific purpose of giving a critique...then getting mad is a different story.

        Was I supposed to say "your page is awesome, thanks for your money!"

        Some people prefer that approach though. Criticism and nagging, and being brutally honest are all different things. Criticizing in a more positive light gets me the best results. Tear someones work down but make them feel good about how you go about telling them. It's not always what you say it's how you say it.

        "The page you designed looks like my 5 year old cousin made it with ms paint."

        "Your design looks like it's from 1997."

        "The design choice you've gone with gives of a simplistic, retro vibe, that might not be attractive to the majority of today website viewers."
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        • Profile picture of the author Biedec48
          I told him the way he posts doesn't draw attention to it....he responded with "*I'm not trying to win facebooks most interesting post award, I want more traffic"
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  • Profile picture of the author thatjc
    It's a numbers game. Some small percentage of clients will take offense when you offer advice which contains any "negative" elements. Over two decades, I've gotten something like 2% to 5% of those.

    As mentioned above, if they can't take professional advice why are they paying for your professional advice?

    Last time this happened to me, the client was extremely offended and accused me of "lecturing him with bad advice" (advice a couple of non-professional friends of his, who wanted to side with him, didn't like).

    I apologized, explaining that I had no intention of offending, only helping and that we didn't seem to be a good match for future work. In other words, I fired my client in as nice a way as possible. Of course he had already decided not to continue using my services.

    Seems to me that almost everyone I deal with are very nice folks - reasonable and appreciative. There are just a few who are overly sensitive in various ways - and a very, very few who are even mentally unstable. I get one of those "a bit unstable" types from time to time through free directories like Craig's List.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by John Coutts View Post

      When people don't pay attention to something, it's usually because they don't like it!

      Maybe I'm just different, but if I don't pay attention to something it's because I don't care enough about it one or another to replace something I feel more strongly about.

      There could be more to the story here. There usually is.

      Did the client get those 700 likes by offering something in exchange, like a coupon or drawing entry? If so, a click on the like button takes less than a second. Reading the content and crafting/posting comments is a lot of work in comparison.

      Read the pages with lots of comments. For most commercial operations, they fall into two categories. First, you have the adoring fans whose comments read a lot like the one-liners we see around here for sig dropping. Second, you have the people who use the page as a place to lodge complaints, whether it's about the company, a product or something else they just don't like. Unless those "likes" fall into one of those two categories, clicking the like button and never commenting is completely normal behavior.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Tell him that in addition to having boring content, his dog has fleas and his wife is ugly. Then he'll really have something to be upset about.
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    • Profile picture of the author allegandro
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      Tell him that in addition to having boring content, his dog has fleas and his wife is ugly. Then he'll really have something to be upset about.



      My answer to that would be, I know that my dog has fleas and that my wife is ugly, that is why I'm doing yours. So when I come home to my wife, she ain't that ugly any more.
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  • Profile picture of the author ragnartm
    Yeah some people are like that... being all like please tell me your honest opinion.. and then you go like: "Yeah those pants DO make you look fat, you should definitely pick another pair if you want to look your best!" And they go... "THEY MAKE ME LOOK FAT!?!?!?" And then you say: "Chill dude, if you didn't want my honest opinion and help, why would you specifically ask for just that?"

    It's a story as old as time itself.

    Like other people have already said, you might want to consider just dropping him. If your job would be to help him improve, and he's not interested in improving, that would make your job impossible, and quite possibly he might ask for a refund or something down the road. Although for future reference you could try putting it even more nicely if you get a similar potential client.
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    • Profile picture of the author helen jones
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      Drop the client, if you are good at what you do you won't have a problem finding new and better clients
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  • Profile picture of the author smith33122
    All clients are like that - Try telling one you don't like their website and it will never convert - YES I did that with my first potential client and they did not become a buyer.

    Its far easier to say to customer - I like what you have done and this is how we can build on your hard work and get you more customers, it works every time.

    Buy a book on SPIN selling tactics and you will soon understand, what is the best way to deal with your particular type of customers


    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author thedanbrown
    Ya sorry to say but you should look for and market only to more ideal clients who aren't gonna break your back
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