Some Like It Hot: The Client From Hell

We’ve all had at least one. The client that enjoys turning up the heat. Tight deadline? Make it tighter. Big bodacious project? Refuse to invest the resources required.

Or, as a reader recently shared, the former Walmart buyer who is in a constant battle to win the lowest price on every project.

We’re talking clients who thrive by creating chaos, not those who must simply lead the way through it (we love those folks). What’s an advisor to do?

Remember Google is your friend. Or, if you’re an attorney, you may have access to deeper intelligence with the right database. Potential clients who exaggerate or lie can often be found out with a few mouse clicks.

Ask around. Consistently difficult clients tend to have a rap sheet. While you want to beware of substituting someone else’s judgment for your own, past behavior is an excellent predictor of future behavior.

Listen to your gut. When a preliminary phone call makes the hackles on your neck rise, it’s time to pay attention. By all means, get the skinny on the person/situation, but we all know what happens when we ignore our gut.

Bottom line? Don’t be the frog in the slowly heating water—jump before it’s too late.

Image credit: Joanna Ciolek

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5 Responses to Some Like It Hot: The Client From Hell

  1. Corey Bearak says:

    Sometimes the client can be properly educated and there are times education can be worth the effort. No reason exists (other than pure hunger and desperation) to allow a client to walk over you. Respect remains important.

  2. Dan Elder says:

    Rachelle, interesting post. Also interesting that we seem to be thinking along the same lines. My latest article series is on knowing exactly when and how to pull the plug on a client, patient, or customer.

    Here’s a one-click link to part 1 of 6:

    You’re welcome to use any of the series as a guest blog or post if you like; no charge, of course. Just follow the Ezine Publisher link in the Share This Article box at the bottom of the page.
    Keep up the good work,
    Dan 🙂

  3. Wise words Corey. Mutual respect between client/advisor is priceless and most necessary for both to gain full value from the relationship.

  4. Thank you Dan–great minds must think alike 🙂

  5. james sale says:

    So right Rochelle – succinctly put! I sometimes meet people – consultants – who have clients who don’t pay. As I like to say to them: a client who doesn’t pay is not a client – pass them by!

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