• Maureen O'Toole

Scare Aware Scary Clients

What I’m Thinking About: Some Clients Are Not a Good Fit

With combined 60 years in business, Dan and I have encountered many business negatives: negative leadership style, negative attitude, consistent complainers, clients who never pay on time, critical clients, toxic cultures. It’s hard to create positive business relationships when the client is negative.

No matter how rich, well known, connected, or educated a business person is, how they treat others tells you everything you need to know. We’re positive that we don’t want to work with incurably negative clients!

Why You Might Be Thinking About This: Bad Clients Culture Creates Bad Business Culture

Dealing with negative clients can adversely impact company culture. Even if you’re doing good work, negative clients may bash you on social media, reaching a large audience with destructive reviews. Team members may avoid the client, spread the negativity by complaining about the client, and even quit. You may find yourself dreading work, having physical symptoms of the stress like headaches, stomachaches and exhaustion.

Why It’s Worth Thinking About: Know When to Scare Away a Scary Client

When dealing with a negative client, stay professional and calm. Use positive messages to model and shape appropriate behavior. Admit when you’re wrong or made a mistake but don’t take responsibility for fixing a client’s negative attitude. Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative; identify with the client the behaviors which are problematic and counter-productive.

If your positive efforts don’t create a positive change in your client, respectfully fire your client. Avoid blaming the client. Rather, respectfully acknowledge that this relationship isn’t mutually beneficial. Simple phrases include: “We’re not a good fit for your business.” “This isn’t working out.” “Our business relationship isn’t achieving what either of us hoped for.”

“It’s better to starve than get a bad client.” Massimo Vignelli

Ready to work with positive clients? The Sandbox Group is ready to help you.