When I first starting business coaching many years ago, I had two crappy clients like this. Neither were ever on time, often tried to reschedule their sessions at the last minute, and I ALWAYS had to chase them for payment. I was moaning to my business coach about this one day, and he said, "Did you explain the rules of the game when you started with them? Do they know what is expected of them?"
I hadn't. I was so chuffed that I had two new clients that I didn't want to rock the boat with them. He told me to have the conversation and if they played by the rules, great - keep them, and if not, put their prices up by 50% and they will probably leave by themselves! If they didn't, at least I was getting a lot more money for the hassle if I wanted it. If I didn't, he told me to sack them!
So I did as I was told. (Unusual for me!)
The first guy was really apologetic, changed his ways and stayed with me for 3 years. The second client didn't change, had his prices increased by 50% and was gone within a month - soon to be replaced by a new, much lovelier client.
This was a massive lesson for me. Now I always make expectations very clear up front and am more than happy to walk away if they don't agree. It's never impacted my business in a negative way.
What are your Rules of the Game?
Get it? Got it? Good! :-)
PS. Need help, advice or support? Join a lovely bunch of like-minded, positive people at one of The Small Business Growth Clubs that I run each month to raise money for HappiMe. Bespoke advice from me for £20. Bargain :-)
Great advice. I am still learning to spot those clients during the early contact stages of a portrait commission! Gut feeling usually proves right... most clients are brilliant, but occasionally there's one who sends absolutely impossible reference photos, (once I even received 5 wobbly videos and no useable stills) then asks for lots of minute changes to the portrait, which knock the life out of it. I take payment upfront as a precaution, and if there seem to be endless changes I say "this is the best I can do" and offer the picture as is, or a full refund. In both cases they took the picture and said they were delighted with it. That said, a hard-to-please client can be a real gift, and throw up valuable improvements to my business model. The customers I struggle with more are the ones who don't respond at all when they've received the portrait.
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Business & management coach, mentor, trainer, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, (and chief pot and bottle washer!)