There are all types of clients out there. Sometimes you get a gem of a client who loves high quality work and pays what such work deserves, other times you get impossible clients who want to squeeze out as much work or products out of you for as little money as possible. As much as you want to give impossible clients a wide berth, it isn’t something that you can do very often because believe it or not impossible clients are, at the very least, as numerous as good clients.
Businesses and professionals across the world deal with impossible clients far more frequently than they’d like to. It is one of those inescapable aspects of making money and being successful. While you can never be completely free of impossible clients that make you want to pull all your hairs out, it is very much possible for you to learn how to deal with them.
The Different Types of Impossible Clients
You’re most probably thinking: “what can they tell me that I don’t already know”. Partly, you would be right because if you have people skills, then you know how to deal with impossible clients. However, at the same time, there are various types of impossible clients out there.
By “impossible clients”, we don’t only mean the ones that keep unrealistic expectations or want impossible results. Our gambit is wider. Here are five types of impossible clients that you must’ve come across at least once in your career as a professional or entrepreneur.
- The overwrought client without boundaries: These types of impossible clients are a pain because they don’t understand the difference between the personal and professional spheres of life. They work throughout the day and are undisciplined about their schedule. They take this wildness about their routine to the point where they start calling business representatives or hired professionals at odd hours. The solution to these types of impossible clients is not to ignore their messages and calls during off hours because many of them keep going even without any response. The solution, instead, is to return the call or email and politely tell them that you’ll get back to them within normal business hours.
- The fussy client always wanting more than what was paid for: These types of clients feel that their money is worth more than the number written on it. Some of them feel that if they’re paying a certain sum for your services, then they own you for the agreed upon hours. Fortunately, such impossible clients are quite easy to deal with. All you need to do is define the scope of the project before it begins. Later on, when such clients demand more than the scope, you can direct them to the relevant documents.
- The fussy client always wanting more but willing to pay for it: These types of clients, to be honest, don’t have to be seen as a problem because they’re just bringing more business for you. At the same time, if your business or practice is particularly successful, then even these types of clients can become a problem with their incessant requirement for your service. After all, you can’t put off your other mega clients for one client. The only way to deal with such a client is to not only define the scope of the project but also the various steps of the project so that the client doesn’t feel the need to backtrack, make preferential modifications, and roll back the work being done.
- The highly methodical and analytical, fence sitting client: These types of impossible clients can actually end up teaching you something. Their methodical nature means that they’re always willing to crunch numbers, commission research projects, and essentially work hard on verifying the viability of an idea before putting work into it. However, because of their penchant for numbers and proofs, they can have a tendency to sit on the fence all the time. In order to deal with these types of impossible clients, you have to use their strengths as their weaknesses – analysing. If you support your idea, concept, or solution with numbers and case studies, then it’s not all that difficult to push such clients off the fence.
- The super miser client: These types of impossible clients are the worst of the lot. They will try everything to reduce their outlay. They will haggle, negotiate, and bargain as if they were in medieval Australia. There isn’t a lot you can do with these types of clients. In many cases, these types of clients just don’t have enough money to cope with your prices. This means that you have to either come up with an alternate solution or simply let them go to some other business.
What Else Can You Try With Impossible Clients?
Impossible clients are a part and parcel of any industry. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll always come across a few that fall into the categories mentioned above. Dealing with impossible clients isn’t rocket science, as most of you know already.
Even so, many of us forget how to do so when faced with them because they get under our skin and elicit an emotional reaction from us. While in the throes of such strong emotions, it’s easy to forget what you can do or what you should’ve done. For that reason, here is a list of counters for impossible clients that you can refer to in a hurry.
- Learn To Read And Project: Once you’ve been in business long enough, you’ll learn to read the signs. If you’re on the lookout, you can easily spot impossible clients during the early negotiation or enquiry period. This the point at which you should be able to project the kind of problems they’ll cause your business and figure out if it’ll be worth it in the long run. For instance, those clients who won’t see you as a service provider and instead view you as a hireling will do so from the beginning by having airs and unrealistic expectations. Similarly, the miser will begin as a miser and the analyst will begin as the analyst. Therefore, if you can read and project the problem, you’ll be able to pick and choose your clients.
- Always Get The Scope Down In Writing: Make this a practice if you haven’t already. Some businesses skip this step with established clients because they have a working relationship. Unfortunately, this is how strong working relationships breakdown like weak glass. Besides, having the scope down in writing is not only a good way to prevent confusion and disputes but also a good way to know your business’s commitments and resource management parameters.
- Know When To Say “No”: Whether it is at the screening stage or in the middle of the project, you need to learn to say “no”. A simple “no” is the perfect solution to impossible clients. At the screening stage, if you read and project problems simply tell the impossible clients that you can’t take up their project. During a project, you may need to say “no” at any number of points. For instance, when they bother you afterhours, you have to say the magic word. If they ask for something beyond the scope of the project and you don’t think it is feasible, then you have to say the word again. “No” is the most important word in business, regardless of what all the motivation quotes online may tell you.
- Maintain A Blacklist: As you do more work for more clients, you’ll get more and more experience of impossible client. It is inevitable. However, after sufficient time has passed and your business has become successful, you’ll come to a point where you’ll be able to pick and choose your clients. It is at this point that you will be able to avoid impossible clients. Therefore, you need to maintain a blacklist of impossible clients so you never forget how much of a pain they were and get involved with them by mistake because you forgot.