Whether they are demanding, rude, or just don’t seem to get where you’re coming from, some clients are just hard to please.
Most of the time, our instinct is to chalk these people up as bad clients and move on. But the truth is that it’s the bad clients that will make the greatest difference in your business processes.
Needy clients get you focused
If you’ve ever had a client that loves to send emails based on their stream of consciousness, you can find your whole day sucked away by email.
Finding myself with a couple of clients that sent a dozen emails a day made email a huge distraction. I was constantly bouncing back and forth between my inbox and whatever work I was trying to do, which cut down on my productivity.
Solution: I turned off my inbox notifications and learned to give myself dedicated email time that was separate from project time. Not only did it cut down on my distractions, segmenting my day helped me be more focused and increased my productivity.
Demanding clients help you learn to delegate
If you’re in a growth period, but have been struggling to give up control, nothing will make you learn to delegate like a demanding client.
You might need help completing all of their requests, or simply need to free up some time to manage the client. Either way, if you’re going to meet the expectations from ALL your clients, you’ll be grateful for the help.
Funny enough, once you start delegating, it’s amazing how liberating it is. You might be surprised how many things you start to hand off.
Unsatisfied clients force you to be creative
If you’ve gotten into a comfortable routine, you actually need a bad client to come along every once in a while and shake things up.
The clients that seem unsatisfied, or simply question everything, force you to do better work because it makes you reexamine why you do things in a certain way.
Your process might be fantastic, but if you haven’t evaluated it in six months, there might be newer tech that can help make it smoother, faster or cheaper.
While endless questions can seem annoying, you should always be able to explain the “why” of what you’re doing to a client. So a client that keeps you sharp is never a bad thing.
Slow paying clients make billing smoother
Many small business owners are squirrely when it comes to money. Let’s face it, money is a highly emotional thing.
Get a client or two that doesn’t pay when they’re supposed to, and watch those emotions fly right out the window and the process begin to take shape.
Deposits, contracts, payment terms, and late fees all help your billing process be emotionless and matter-of-fact. This type of structure will help you be more professional, and your system run smoother for all your clients. You may even find that you’re more confident about money in general and are able to command a higher rate!
I like to think that there really aren’t any bad clients. Sure I’ve had my “special” clients and “learning opportunities,” but I think sometimes it comes down to the fact that it’s just not a fit.
Having a better feel for the type of people you want to work with can allow you to develop a better prospecting method so you find the right people. And then streamline your on-boarding process set yourself up for success in the future.
I won’t lie; I have ranted and raved about the antics of some of my clients. But I’ve learned to take some deep breaths and put my problem solving hat on. At the end of the day my bad client experiences have helped me build a stronger company, and for that I am grateful.