If you work long enough in marketing or related fields, such as web development, you will run into demanding clients.
These clients can subject your company to unreasonable demands, low pay, overwork, and even verbal abuse.
A few might not pay on time, as well.
The good news is these types of other clients are relatively rare, and there are strategies you can implement to avoid them that we outline below.
Table of Contents
Charge A Higher Rate For Difficult Clients
Many digital firms fire the most challenging and toxic clients. But another same way to handle it is to upcharge clients that make unreasonable demand.
Check that your contracts and billing policies have contingencies in place for the extra workload that some clients can cause.
You may want to consider charging rush fees if they want you to drop your entire client load and work only on their project.
Or, itemize how much time you spent doing rework that was done according to spec. You also can write in the contract that you will charge more when you have to handle an excessive amount of phone calls or emails.
Also, when you have a demanding client, you can insert provisions in the contract that will get you paid more quickly.
Meet On Your Home Turf
If you physically meet with clients, it can help to meet in your office, not theirs. If that won’t work, you can schedule meetings with your software. This way, discussions happen with your culture in the background, not theirs. It also means they are your guest, which can make them behave better.
Check The Client’s Background
Don’t sign a contract just because the content marketing client offers excellent pay. This is an easily avoidable rookie mistake. Check their references and see how they have worked with other contractors in the past.
Send Difficult Client’s To Your Competitors
Sometimes a client is so challenging that the company will tell them that they can no long run with them. If a client is too demanding, rude, even condescending, it may be time to send them to your competition.
However, it’s a good fit idea to give the SEO companies you send the client to that they may have trouble heading their way. After all, what comes around, goes around; someone could send toxic clients to you someday without warning!
Write Clear Contracts
It can be more challenging for companies to bully you and demand too much if you make everything clear in the contract. A well-written contract can cover you by giving you an advantage if you ever need to file a suit to get paid.
Sometimes, just referring the first client to the contract can get them to cool down and back off. On the other hand, a contract template you pull off the Internet might not give you the protection you need. In the worst case, it could even cause you problems. ‘Free’ isn’t always the best idea when it comes to writing contracts for your company.
Before you sign up with a client, it’s a good idea to check the business’s credit to see if they have a strong payment history. A low score may alert you to a company with cash flow problems.
When you have a paying client, even a difficult one, it can be all the hard work to say no. But some people will take advantage of that and drive you harder and harder until you have to do something.
There are clients out there that can insist that you work on a marketing campaign over Christmas and New Year’s. If you have a large staff, that could mean ruining everyone’s holidays. In a situation like that, you have to learn just to say no.
If All Else Fails, Fire Them
The idea of firing a client sounds straightforward, but things are delicate when you’re working in the corporate world. Firing a client can have consequences, especially if you make the wrong decisions or a company with influence.
Some of the factors to review when considering to fire a toxic clients are:
- Regularly shows a negative attitude towards your work no matter how hard you try.
- Making unreasonable demands beyond your company’s ability regularly.
- Shows signs of endorsing mental or physical abuse. This might include making threats, displaying rude etiquette to you or your employees, and even sexual harassment.
- The client isn’t honest and unprofessional when working with you, leading to a lack of trust and uncertainty.
- The client shows you a lack of respect.
How To Fire A Toxic Client
In most cases, you can’t just yell at the client, ‘you’re fired!’ as much as you might prefer! It would feel great, but it may come back to haunt you. Here are some steps to follow to let a toxic client go the right way:
- Come up with good, concrete reasons for your actions: You might simply loathe their pessimistic attitude, but that’s not enough. Make a list of unprofessional and unreasonable things about the client and present them professionally.
- Be adamant: The key to firing a toxic client properly comes down to tone. You know you can’t continue the business owner relationship further, so maintain an adamant and confident approach. A toxic client will makes sense weakness if you are uncertain and may take advantage.
- Don’t blame them: The idea is to end the business relationship professionally. To do this, you may need to divert some of the blame to yourself to avoid riling them with accusations. This lets the client approach the matter more practically.
- No means no: Some clients will try to develop a counteroffer to keep you on board. If you’ve made up your mind, make clear that the matter is settled, and you want to move on.
While most clients are reasonable and easy to work with, human nature being what it is, sometimes you’ll run into a toxic situation. It’s ok; it happens to most businesses eventually. If you follow the guidelines above, you should be able to avoid the most toxic business relationships.