Offline Consultants: I Had a Client Try and Chew Me Out Today

35 replies
It's funny how the clients that you make the most concessions for like to turn 'high maintenance' on ya...

Lately, I've had a few local business consulting gigs fall into my lap... not usually one to turn down money but I'll tell you, I'm rethinking that policy. I'm beginning to lean toward Gary Halbert's eloquent philosophy about clients:

(hmm... can somebody help me remember how that goes?)

Oh, I remember: All Clients Suck!

Since I've started accepting clients again (last year I promised myself I was done!), I've seen my revenue slide on my affiliate sites, I've all but abandoned my weekly audio show, and my blood pressure's so high I'm surprised my eyes aren't bulging out of the sockets.

Calm Before the Storm

But this latest client takes the cake. Sitting next to the pool a week and a half ago, he pushed a check for $1,250 across my patio table (one-time fee... 2nd half will be due in 90 days for developing the site and some DFY services).

Sounds okay so far, but little did I know -- I was going to regret that transaction only 10 days later. First, let me back up and tell you how we got to the patio table in the first place...

Wait. On second thought- no 'loops' (ha, I do it without even thinking now...). VERY quickly: client was a friend of a friend... one day about 4 months ago I was goofing around, experimenting with Animoto and decided to make the vid about this guy's business brand -- emailed it to him on a lark -- and he's been buying me lunch every 3 or 4 weeks and riddling me with marketing questions ever since!

Not kidding - totally haven't pursued this guy's business -- too busy with other stuff... but there I was, 10 days ago, accepting the check.

Shook hands and I told him I'd email him the contract that day, which he should return with digital signature (btw, does anyone else do this? Beats the heck out of paperwork and faxing, imo).

Thereafter, the agreement was that I would send him a Paypal subscription link for my monthly fee for ongoing services, and once he paid that, the project would commence. (He would also put me in touch with the graphic designer he was already working with, so we could synchronize and get started.)

Uh oh.

Well... 24 hours goes by... no contract returned. 48 hours... nothing. I email him a reminder... 3 days... I text him... nothing. finally after 4 days I text him again asking if everything was ok, and his email silently appears in my inbox with digital signature. With no other comment/explanation from him, mind you.

So, I deploy the Paypal link... email him that, figuring I was really in for a wait, now. Long story short, after more emails, texts and voicemail (and 9 days of waiting) I get a Paypal notification of payment yesterday, the graphic designer's info -- AND -- get this: a voicemail from him saying: IT'S BEEN TWO WEEKS, WHY ISN'T ANYTHING DONE.

What the?

I know some of you have been here before and you're chuckling at me right now aren't you. It's ok. You know, I have renewed respect for you gents and ladies who deal with these folks on a regular basis...

I got him on the phone and, so as not to bore you with all 20 minutes of the conversation, here's the condensed version:

Him: why didn't you start the project, I didn't know you weren't going to start without the other payment

Me: we discussed this, plus the contract explicitly says it

Him: well there should be a special note clearly stating that!

Me: the contract has a special note clearly stating that.

Him: well you should have gone ahead and started the project anyway, I gave you 1,250 dollars! how much money do you need?? - I'm really busy, so you should have contacted me to let me know you weren't starting

Me: contract states how much money begins your project - and I texted, emailed and called

Him: you should have been more aggressive and really gotten after me

Me: that would be pushy. we both knew the next steps, I respect my clients enough not to 'hound' them.

Him: that's exactly what I need! Hound me!

Me: *blank stare at phone* uh, ok? :confused:

smh

I gotta say, I spent much of the rest of the day deciding on whether to just refund him now, or not.

Keep going?
I kinda felt like the project would be fun, because he's in the entertainment biz (which I came from), and the site and marketing concept I have planned will be a way cool addition to my portfolio/experience list. Not to mention the additional stories I'm sure will come out of this.

Refund him and shake his hand?
The guy was late with his deliverables and, instead of owning up, twisted things every way he could think of to make it my fault. Not a good sign.

What say you?
#chew #client #consultants #fellow #offline #today
  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Jeff, I'm really sorry to hear about your latest episode with this client. Some can be really unreasonable, and will twist things in every way possible so that you end up looking like the "bad" guy, which is really unjustified and very frustrating, to say the least.

    You've already had a preview of how unreasonable this guy is, and I'm afraid that by continuing with this project you'll be exposing yourself to more of this same nonsense. If I were you, I'd refund him his money and move on. I don't think he's worth the aggravation and trouble, and if it's going to affect other areas of your business (like your affiliate marketing), then it'd just be best to drop him like a hot potato.

    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author WikiWarrior
      I agree with Paul, unless you really need the money, I would just drop the project and move on. I sell website and marketing services offline and if I find myself chasing customers early on for basic things like this I can be fairly sure the whole relationship will continue the same way.

      One thing it seems I do differently to you though is when setting up with a new client I won't be texting or emailing them if I want a fast decision or answer. I will badger them on the phone to get the information I need and make sure we are both clear on each others expectations. Once contracts and money are sorted there is a shift in power to you and you're mind is more at ease knowing they are fully committed to working with you, whatever crops up along the way.

      Another thing I found with clients that don't go online or use email much is that there seems to be a gap in comprehension when explaining things and getting useful freedback. When in doubt, I always pick up the phone.

      Keep us posted how it goes. It seems you have invested quite some time on this now so I hope it works out for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Droopy Dawg
    Refund the money bro... you already know how the rest of this project will go. Your life iwill be so much better in the long run. Trust me...
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    Run, don't walk! If this is how your business relationship starts, is it really likely to get any better?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Martin
    I'm going to be a dissenting voice. It's a busy client... with money!

    I think you handled the call well and he now knows where you stand and that you don't bend on your contracts.

    Some of the most loyal clients come out of resolving a difficult situation and it seems to me by the end of the call you had this one resolved.

    Hey, if this stuff was easy anyone could do it. Where would the challenge be in that?
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  • Profile picture of the author VeitSchenk
    I'm gonna go right in the middle between "run" and "dissenting voice":

    IF you are 100% certain you can make this a resounding success and he'll be blown away, then I'd personally go for it. Just like Dean Martin says: if you can resolve the situation and totally overdeliver, not only will they become loyal clients (well, in many cases), but also will they recommend you to other (difficult;-) clients.

    But only do it IF you are certain what you've got really will rock their boat

    all the best

    Veit

    PS: and heck, there are just some people out there who are "different"... it's NOT personal
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  • Profile picture of the author iw433
    People will treat you anyway you allow them to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cringer
    Maybe this guy didn't realise the importance of the contract, timing and payment options. Perhaps this is how he does business and just assumed you were getting along fine with things.

    I've a couple of clients like this who can appear quite manipulative at first but when I realise it's because of what they do/did it takes the edge off of me.

    Ultimately there was a client of mine who insisted on me doing his work for him even though I was coaching him how to do it - and the tables were turned 180. I had no become his commodity - his employee that he could say "Don't tell me you havent done that yet" to which I replied "That last payment you gave me, That's the last one. I wont be sending you any more invoices. I have become your commodity - exactly as I told you I would but you insisted I wouldnt."

    "I am my own boss and can pick and choose who I work with. I can't be managed and told what to do. Only my wife does that "

    He quickly realised I was serious about this - and wished for me to go back coaching him, but that I would work with a member of his staff now rather than him.
    Then the power was back with me - he needed me to help him and now we have a better relationship for it.


    If you are in a position to take it or leave it, perhaps call him on it. Say to him that you manage your own time and dictate your hours based on priorities. You've clients that pay you twice as much as him who are in the least bit demandling. If you would rather have someone you can call upon and question them then I feel that I wouldn't be suitable to you or your business.


    Anyhow just my 0.02c on this.

    Feel for ya man - this is happening all too much these days.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    This is why I prefer to actually go through agreements in-person, beside the client, so that any questions / concerns etc. get addressed on the spot.

    They know how payments will work, they know what I need (and by when) otherwise the project gets delayed, and they know the time PERIOD of when to expect things to be completed (assuming I have received everything on time).

    Any delays, or neglecting to follow my instructions, equals a voiding of my guarantee with them.

    I don't think I'd drop this client unless you really need a lot of involvement from him.

    Sounds to me once you get paid, you'll mostly just be working with the graphic designer and then delivering the end results.

    Sometimes the busy clients stay out of your hair more than those with "too much time on their hands."

    My 2 cents

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    I think you have to go with your gut feeling on this one, but I'd say I sure don't need a PITA client like this and would return his deposit if it were me.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author ObsidianKnight
    Originally Posted by Jeff Marshall View Post

    It's funny how the clients that you make the most concessions for like to turn 'high maintenance' on ya...

    I got him on the phone and, so as not to bore you with all 20 minutes of the conversation, here's the condensed version:

    Him: why didn't you start the project, I didn't know you weren't going to start without the other payment

    Me: we discussed this, plus the contract explicitly says it

    Him: well there should be a special note clearly stating that!

    Me: the contract has a special note clearly stating that.

    Him: well you should have gone ahead and started the project anyway, I gave you 1,250 dollars! how much money do you need?? - I'm really busy, so you should have contacted me to let me know you weren't starting

    Me: contract states how much money begins your project - and I texted, emailed and called

    Him: you should have been more aggressive and really gotten after me

    Me: that would be pushy. we both knew the next steps, I respect my clients enough not to 'hound' them.

    Him: that's exactly what I need! Hound me!

    Me: *blank stare at phone* uh, ok? :confused:

    smh

    I gotta say, I spent much of the rest of the day deciding on whether to just refund him now, or not.
    Jeff,

    I feel your pain. There are a number of parts to address with regard to this client so I will take it in part.

    First, you have two options, run from them or stay with them. Now the problem comes into what exactly you want to accomplish.

    If you run, then you lose 1 client for sure, and possibly lose any number of others in the event this guy then starts bad-mouthing you and your business. Remember, nothing spreads faster then bad news. If you are no longer taking offline clients, then this may be just the reason you need in order to stop having offline clients.

    However, there are also valid reason to keep them as a client. But if you do, you will need to put your foot down and stand up for yourself as well.

    Most customers, particularly the unreasonable ones, are not actually that way on purpose. Many of them have personalities that are quite dominant, strong willed, or are simply used to getting things their own way. (spoiled)

    You must understand that any sign of weakness on your part places you beneath them "in their viewpoint". Not to say that this is proper or right, but it does happen.

    In order to get back to the right side of the relationship, let them know that you will walk in the event that this continues. Let me give you an example.

    I once worked for a store when I was younger, in which we had to offer help to cutomers. Simple customer service work. One day a customer who was being "extremely rude" made the comment that " I had to take her abuse and deal with it because she was the customer and I was the clerk".

    I politely stood there and asked her to leave the store. I simply told her that the employees were not there for her to abuse and that as a store we "reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason" and that no one would take her money if she continued. She stormed out.

    Needless to say, she returned to the store at a later date and was much nicer to both me and the other staff.

    This also happened to me once when I worked for a web-host as tech support. We had a lady that was always pushy. Even when things were beyond our control, she would get beligerant. One day I stood my ground with her.

    I told her "look I have all day. We can either stay on the phone with you yelling at me, or you can stop yelling, let me help you to fix the problem, I get paid the same either way. The choice was hers".

    She not only became a great customer, but would also only deal with me. She became My customer.

    I am a firm believer in "the customer is always right ---BUT TO A POINT".

    Me personally, I would keep the customer, tell them that "My own business is important, and that while they need to be hounded, I myself do not have the time to hound them."

    Afterall you are a businessman, not a babysitter. If they need hounding, let him get a wife, a girlfriend, or his own personal assistant.

    Let them know and understand that you expect certain specific things from them, and that if they cannot provide what you need then perhaps you are not right for them. MAke the customer own up to their own responsibilities.

    Derek
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Well, I'm going to be the dissenting voice here.

      When someone says, "that's exactly what I need! Hound me!" he is actually serious. It means that he doesn't pay attention to anything else. It also means that he respects someone who hounds him.

      People are different. They don't always respond the way you or most other people would respond. Here you have someone explicitly telling you how to deal with him, and chances are he's being truthful about that.

      If you feel it's degrading to hound someone, then yes, you should certainly back out of the deal.

      But if you can bear hounding him, and even do it with good humor, then it may be worth doing things his way.

      It's like, when I go to Middle Eastern countries I dislike haggling because it doesn't fit my personality and it's not the way I was brought up. I'm not a better or worse person for that, and they're not better or worse for enjoying haggling. We're simply different.

      Do you have a sense of this guy's background? Is he from New York City or from another country? Just curious.

      Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author MWGrubb58
    I think Marcia's right on the button. Here is someone telling you how to deal with them.

    If you can stand it, deal with them that way... I don't necessarily think they are hard to deal with... they just want to be kept in the loop.

    It's all about positioning in my book... If a person chases YOU, then they will be more prone to listen to what you say. It seems that they were chasing you for a few weeks to pump information out of you.

    Just make sure everything is clear as you mov ahead.

    Cheers,

    Millard
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  • Profile picture of the author thesanto
    My 2 cents!

    I have had experiences with clients like this one before. No matter what you do, how to do it or when you do it - it will never be good, enough or up to their standards.

    Like some have said already here, this guy smells like trouble from the very beginning, so it will probably be trouble along all the way.

    My advice would be "Drop him like he's hot"

    Your life will be a lot easier and less stressful, and go get you some non-high-drama/high maintenance clients . believe it or not they are out there!

    Good luck brother,

    Henry
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Marshall
      Thanks everyone for the great advice and honest opinions -- I can see that this is not so cut and dried a decision, as there are great points on both sides. I'll think another day about it and by Monday I'll be solid on one side or the other (thanks, in part, to you guys).

      Really enjoyed hearing some of your experiences, too. Thanks for the support!

      Originally Posted by paulie888 View Post

      ...and if it's going to affect other areas of your business (like your affiliate marketing), then it'd just be best to drop him like a hot potato.
      MAJOR factor you hit there, Paul. Other segments of my business have, indeed, begun to slip and my business is starting to resemble a job. **shudder** hmm...

      Originally Posted by YOUniversityLife View Post

      One thing it seems I do differently to you though is when setting up with a new client I won't be texting or emailing them if I want a fast decision or answer. I will badger them on the phone to get the information I need and make sure we are both clear on each others expectations. ...When in doubt, I always pick up the phone.
      Good advice.

      Originally Posted by Dean Martin View Post

      ...Some of the most loyal clients come out of resolving a difficult situation and it seems to me by the end of the call you had this one resolved.

      Hey, if this stuff was easy anyone could do it. Where would the challenge be in that?
      Thanks! And I'm almost certain that's exactly would old Dino would say... buhbuhbuhbooo...

      Originally Posted by VeitSchenk View Post

      IF you are 100% certain you can make this a resounding success...

      PS: and heck, there are just some people out there who are "different"... it's NOT personal
      You know, it's hard to be 100% certain of anything at this point... "different," indeed.

      Originally Posted by alancol View Post

      So what if he gave you $$$.

      drop him.
      drop him...fast.
      drop him...without any regrets.
      drop him...without and don't look back.

      drop him...drop him...drop him.

      Best,
      Alan
      So I'm not sure what you're saying... :confused:

      Originally Posted by iw433 View Post

      People will treat you anyway you allow them to.
      Wise words!

      Originally Posted by Cringer View Post

      "I am my own boss and can pick and choose who I work with. I can't be managed and told what to do. Only my wife does that "

      He quickly realised I was serious about this - and wished for me to go back coaching him, but that I would work with a member of his staff now rather than him.
      Then the power was back with me - he needed me to help him and now we have a better relationship for it.
      Thanks for sharing this! Great perspective...

      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      This is why I prefer to actually go through agreements in-person, beside the client, so that any questions / concerns etc. get addressed on the spot.

      They know how payments will work, they know what I need (and by when) otherwise the project gets delayed, and they know the time PERIOD of when to expect things to be completed (assuming I have received everything on time).

      Any delays, or neglecting to follow my instructions, equals a voiding of my guarantee with them.

      I don't think I'd drop this client unless you really need a lot of involvement from him.

      Sounds to me once you get paid, you'll mostly just be working with the graphic designer and then delivering the end results.

      Sometimes the busy clients stay out of your hair more than those with "too much time on their hands."

      My 2 cents

      ~Dexx
      Excellent points -- really hadn't considered the 'level of future involvement' angle. hmm... Thanks Dexx!

      Originally Posted by ObsidianKnight View Post

      ...If you run, then you lose 1 client for sure, and possibly lose any number of others in the event this guy then starts bad-mouthing you and your business.
      Originally Posted by ObsidianKnight View Post

      ...You must understand that any sign of weakness on your part places you beneath them "in their viewpoint". Not to say that this is proper or right, but it does happen.

      In order to get back to the right side of the relationship, let them know that you will walk in the event that this continues. Let me give you an example...
      Originally Posted by ObsidianKnight View Post

      ...I am a firm believer in "the customer is always right ---BUT TO A POINT".

      Me personally, I would keep the customer, tell them that "My own business is important, and that while they need to be hounded, I myself do not have the time to hound them."

      Afterall you are a businessman, not a babysitter. If they need hounding, let him get a wife, a girlfriend, or his own personal assistant.

      Let them know and understand that you expect certain specific things from them, and that if they cannot provide what you need then perhaps you are not right for them. Make the customer own up to their own responsibilities.

      Derek
      Great stuff. Great stuff.

      Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

      ...But if you can bear hounding him, and even do it with good humor, then it may be worth doing things his way...

      ...

      Do you have a sense of this guy's background? Is he from New York City or from another country? Just curious.

      Marcia Yudkin
      He's not from NYC... somewhere along the east coast, I think. Interesting... Thanks!

      Originally Posted by thesanto View Post

      I have had experiences with clients like this one before. No matter what you do, how you do it or when you do it - it will never be good enough, or up to their standards.

      Like some have said already here, this guy smells like trouble from the very beginning, so it will probably be trouble along all the way.

      My advice would be "Drop him like he's hot"

      Your life will be a lot easier and less stressful, and go get you some non-high-drama/high maintenance clients . believe it or not they are out there!

      Good luck brother,

      Henry
      Thanks, Henry... and thanks to ALL of you - even the one's I didn't have time to quote - I read every word!

      Will post an update as things unfold. Or fold.
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  • Profile picture of the author cobra tatham
    Nobody needs clients like this. No respect, no work! The only good thing that could come from this is possible business referrals from this clown. But I'm not sure I would even bother..... move on.

    Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author Ashley Skuse
    Let me tell you something: the guy is his own worst enemy. He will never be satisfied, but at the end of the day, he's the one stopping his own business from growing. Is it even feasible to work with someone like that? Probably not.

    If you stay with him on the project, he may sense that you NEED the job (I don't know whether you do or not), which will put him in the more controlling position because he'll know you can't afford to drop the project. It will just spiral into a bigger nightmare I think. I guess just make it clear that you're in control and won't take much more crap from him.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Marshall
      Originally Posted by Ashley Cooper View Post

      If you stay with him on the project, he may sense that you NEED the job (I don't know whether you do or not)...
      Thankfully I don't, it's just a sweet shot at an industry in which I would love to apply some of the things I know, possibly leading to some very interesting referral biz. ...Thanks Ashley - good points and food for thought... You, too Andrew (above)
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  • Profile picture of the author cma01
    It's funny how the clients that you make the most concessions for like to turn 'high maintenance' on ya...
    Yes, that is very true. The easiest way to avoid this is not to make concessions.

    Some people will push to see just how far they can go and how much you will give them. One you establish the boundaries, then they are fine.

    Other people will push and push and push no matter how many times you set the conditions. If you are someone who thrives on confrontation and going into battle, I'm sure you can deal with them.

    For me, it's draining to constantly deal with someone like that and it's just not worth it. If I've already given you the same answer four times, you're not going to get a different answer the fifth time you ask.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I wouldn't take any of this crap.
    Personally , I would say " Look, if you would like to continue to go forward with this... this is what needs to happen. 1. XXXXXX 2. XXXXX 3. XXXXX etc.
    The choice is yours to hound him or not. If you would like to say, "if you want to be hounded then that's what I'll do." If you don't want to hound him say something like what was said above... " Look, it is not my responsibility to make sure you do your part. I can complete my part, but only after you complete yours. I will not hound you. That is just not how I do business. I will complete your project, but the time frames are out the window. I will still need to receive payment for any future work. If no payment is received as stated in the contract, then all work will come to a halt. Only to recommence upon payment. I will only send you one email with the invoice in it. Now.... would you still like to proceed?" If they say "Yes", then you can say "Great, all I need is XXXXX", or "I can have a status update to you by XXXX" or "Okay, now what did you want to do about this XXXXXX?" or something along those lines.
    If he says "No" then refund his money and move on.

    Or you could go in a different direction.
    Tell him the rest of the payment is due upon completion. Or at a certain milestone in the project timeline. This way, he is not paying for something upon front, and then getting impatient when he doesn't have immediate results.
    This would still allow you to work on this project add it to your portfolio.

    You could also talk to his competitors and see if they want to do business with you.

    You should include a "Right of Refusal" clause in your contracts that say you have the right to refuse anyone at anytime for any purpose. Upon refusal the client will forefiet any monies paid to said company, and all future transactions would cease.
    ( I have never had to enforce this yet though.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    I know EXACTLY what type of business owner this person is based on what he said in your phone conversation.

    He's the put the latest fire out business owner. He manages his business based on the latest and or biggest crisis. This is why he said that you need to hound him, if its not in his face causing an emergency or some sort of crisis its not important enough to give attention to.

    Give him his money back and maybe he'll find a marketer who operates on the same principles.
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  • Profile picture of the author vipervin
    I would go with my gut feeling and part ways. His attitude may be a precursor to more headaches down the line that you don't want to deal with.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      The problem with working with offline clients is simple - you have to work with real people. This isn't someone you can easily manage with quick emails - you need to get in front of him and say "hey, wait, I need this now".

      Whenever there is a thread like this, I'm surprised at the number of people whose first reaction is "dump the client". It would be great if we only worked with people who see things our way.

      Ain't gonna happen very often. That said, my 2-3 best long term writing clients are customers I would have been advised to "drop" had I posted some of their foibles when I first began working with them.

      Over a year later - they are loyal clients with reasonable expectations who pay on time - and once I understood where each was "coming from". I had to learn how they look at things and what their expectations were - and now I consider them friends.

      Some clients take more effort than others - but often they are the ones most worth having in the end. At least, that's been my experience.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        Whenever there is a thread like this, I'm surprised at the number of people whose first reaction is "dump the client". It would be great if we only worked with people who see things our way.
        And that is why this section of the forum is so interesting to me.

        Many of the questions that come up here have nothing to do with offline business. They have to do with challenges in human relations that, as someone else said, can't be disentangled with a stock email or two.

        I've been in business nearly 30 years now, and the lessons I've learned about people from the business consulting and mentoring I've done have offered me an enlightening window on human existence that I imagine is second only to what therapists are privy to.

        I agree with Kay that one doesn't have much of a future if one jettisons every client with whom there's a conflict. Of course, some conflicts go beyond one's tolerance, and everyone has to draw a line in the sand. But be careful where you draw that line.

        Draw it too close in to yourself when you're getting started and you'll find it hard to create the momentum and word of mouth for a thriving business. When you are well established, you can afford to be more judgmental and demanding of your clients. At that point, it will be less a matter of not knowing how to deal with people than simply choosing not to go through unpleasantness.

        Cheers,
        Marcia Yudkin
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        Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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        • Profile picture of the author JoeCool
          Jeff, I don't know about you, but I don't have time to babysit other adults.

          For the effort taken to "nurture" one problem child client, I can go find five others that respect my time, my skills, and my business.

          And they pay just as well too.


          ~ JoeCool
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          My Favorite Charity .:: www.Unitus.com ::. Helping Third World Entrepreneurial Families Help Themselves.

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      • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


        It would be great if we only worked with people who see things our way.

        kay
        That's a really good point, Kay, and I agree with you, but I can't say I've had a similar experience. The clients I've had who have been really difficult have stayed really difficult, and in the end I chose not to work with them any more.

        If people are prepared to stick it out with a challenging client until things get better, that's great. I've already got too much on my plate to hound someone to do what he should be doing for his own business. This guy may never do anything unless he is nagged, and unless the provider is happy to do that, I don't see it as part of a service agreement. I just think in those circumstances there will be another service provider out there who will be a better fit with his personality, particularly since the OP is already having reservations so early in their business relationship.
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      • Profile picture of the author ObsidianKnight
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        The problem with working with offline clients is simple - you have to work with real people.

        kay
        Kay,

        I agree with you. One of the biggest problems I see with offline business is having to deal with people face to face.

        I spent many years in retail, so for me it was either get used to it or get out. Many years later I took a job for tech support and would get a kick out of the other techs who hated dealing with people over the phone.

        I would tell them, try dealing with these people face to face if you think it is so bad.


        Jeff, everything has persepctive.

        You have to know your own limits of customer service skills, people skills and your own level of willingness to put up with customers like this.

        You will undoubtedly find that along the way everyone who is in business of any sort has dealt with people like this. Even if you get rid of this one, what is to say the next 5 are not just like him.

        Any option you pick will affect you and your business. So you must in the end decide on which course of action best suits you and your needs. With so many options, you should still consider doing those options which present the most flexibility.

        If you decide to continue with this customer, and they continue to be a royal pain, then you can still drop them. If you drop them now, you could be losing your best and most lucrative client or potential referral source.

        If you can get them to not need hounding and turn them from a raving lunatic to a raving fan, then it may boost your business considerably.

        In the end, the choice is your. I wish you the best of luck.

        Derek
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
    Stick with him. He's told you exactly what you need to do to get through to him.

    Ride his ass like a race horse. If and when this doesn't work, either, then get rid of him.

    Some people need to be really, really pushed. I've a few of them myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author deannatroupe
    Well this is my opinion. I personally don't have the patience for a lot of handholding. I have had some high maintenance clients and needed the money and politely told them to take a walk. I believe in leveraging my time. If I spend too much time dealing with a high maintenance client, then I am not spending time on other important things (like family and other projects). Most importantly if this client is starting to feel like a job, you will not feel motivated to do your best work so it might be in your best interest to walk away from this one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Know a word I really love in business? RESPECT. No respect, no work from me.

    It's a huge lack of respect to start something without knowing what it was. I really don't care if it's a local business or a huge company.

    No respect? Cool, see ya around, when you're driving others crazy...
    Signature
    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rocketguy
    I have been down this road recently with a client and can tell you this will happen again with this client in the future I can almost guarantee it.
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