A bad client can have devastating effects on a business. There are always going to be businesses that try to take advantage of certain vendors or are simply a nightmare to deal with. The question is how to avoid a bad business client before damage can be done.
A bad client can be a costly experience to a business. We recently sat down and had a conversation with several companies to try to find out how to best avoid these types of business clients that are toxic and what they tend to do that is damaging to service providers. Here are some of the results of this conversation.
3 Most Popular Things Bad Clients and Prospects Do
1. Do not pay their bills on time or at all.
One of the most popular complaints by service providers and vendors is almost unbelievable. There are many instances of services providers not getting paid for services rendered or being paid very late. In either case, this can cause lots of damage to a company. We heard how some clients owed thousands of dollars for services rendered by either did not pay at all or paid months later. For smaller vendors and companies this can be a devastating experience. A couple non-paying clients can cause a smaller company to go out of business. Things can happen and any company could be late on a bill, but these bad clients on purpose are late or do not pay at all.
2. Behave disrespectfully or just simply rude.
Nobody wants to put up with rude or disrespectful people. This is especially true in business. Companies that provide valuable services and great customer service can often be taken advantage by rude clients or prospects, which have no respect for others. These toxic relationships can be a drain on a company’s resources and overall health. Clients or prospects that do not call or email a business back once they receive what they wanted are toxic for any type of business. There is never a situation that warrants tolerating rude and disrespectful clients. Some clients still have the notion that if they complain constantly and act “high maintenance”, they will get more out of you.
3. Manipulate to get more even without paying.
This is a very common practice by bad clients and prospects. It happens too often and has negative effects on vendors and service providers. How do bad clients or prospects manipulate? The answer is, they make all kinds of promises that they never intend to follow up on. For example, they tell that they for sure will hire and pay for a set amount of service, but only intend to get free information or help. Bad clients pay for something, but consistently try to get more out of the vendor than they are paying for. Prospects try to get as much as possible answered and provided to them without ever planning on becoming a client. There are many forms of manipulation and vendors as well as all service providers should avoid these types of people.
3 Ways to Avoid a Bad Client or Prospect
1. Talk to previous vendors and service providers.
This is straightforward and logical, but yet many companies do not conduct their due diligence on potential clients and clients in general. One of the easiest ways to avoid a bad client or prospect is to contact previous or other vendors and service providers. This is common in other industries, but service providers often neglect to double check. A landlord knows better. A landlord calls upon previous landlords to see if rents are paid on time and the home was kept in good conditions. Similar to this, a service provider and vendors should double check on their potential clients if they are ethical in behavior towards companies and people that provide them with services.
2. Ask the right questions when talking to the potential client.
Often service providers or individuals are just happy to get business and projects that they fail to ask the right questions, when talking to the potential clients. Certain questions can give a service provider a good idea what the relationship may be like with the potential client. Such questions could be for example, “Why did they stop working with the previous vendor?”, “What are the client’s expectations for the project?”, “Are the requirements understood clearly?”, “What did they like with the previous vendors and what did they not like?”, and any other questions that will elaborate the tendencies of how these potential clients treat vendors or work with them.
3. Structure healthy boundaries with prospects and clients.
At the end of the day, there will always be bad clients, prospects, and people that behave unethical in the business world. As service providers and vendors, the job is to avoid these bad situations and relationships. It is strictly a matter of being aware of these situations and people. Forming strong and healthy boundaries is not just important in a personal life, but also in the business world. Setting the correct expectations and boundaries can significantly assist service providers not to be taken advantage off. Boundaries at times need to be enforced through direct talks to clients and even prospects. Often people and companies pretend that they want to become clients, but only really want to take advantage of the service providers in some shape or form. Vendors must from the beginning enforce boundaries and voice them in a professional matter for best results.