Don't Bring Me Down: Keeping the brand clear of toxic clients
If you are a loyal reader or your company has worked with me on your brand, you know how adamant I am about defining who your ideal client is. If you can’t define the target you want to hit, you’ll be wasting a lot of time, money and energy hoping to hit something…anything.
Equally important is defining who your client is not. Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude in most corporations is that anyone is better than no one. But is that true?
Nope. Here’s why. If don’t know who is not your client, you may attract toxic clients. Toxic Clients:
- Demand an inordinate amount of attention. That’s just part of their modus operandi. They are a vortex, sucking in your time and energy. They pull you and your staff away from servicing your ideal clients.
- Do not want to achieve a win-win. They ask for the most and want to pay the least. They will not compromise. They do not want you to do well, but rather work toward defeating you.
- Are not appreciative. Toxic clients are stingy with praise. They begrudge a job well done even though it is to their benefit. They will not spread positive reviews about their experience of your organization.
- Will be blamers and complainers. They find fault with everything your people do, amplify any error, and will never take responsibility for their contribution to a problem.
- May sabotage a project. They refuse to follow established, proven systems and procedures, and want you to reinvent the wheel for them.
- Are masters of scope creep. Without expecting to pay for changes or additions, they will make special requests, additions or alterations after milestones have been signed off.
- Exhibit an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They feel they deserve more service and perks than are in your agreement. And, they aren’t satisfied until they have squeezed every bit of profit from the project, because you should feel privileged to have their business.
- Will bad-mouth your brand. If you don’t give in to demands, they will hold your reputation hostage. Their resentment may manifest in not just refusing to recommend your company, but, they may actually talk smack about your organization, flame you on social media and tarnish your brand.
If you are nodding your head, you’ve been there. You can’t expect to get along with every personality you encounter, but toxic clients are a whole other level. They will damage your brand, overload your resources, trample your employees’ spirits, be slow paying and cost you a lot more than what you bill them.
Trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to say, “We are not a good fit,” and step away. Save your good stuff for the most deserving clients—those who want you both to succeed.