At work you are known as a people person — then why are the people you work with driving you crazy?
This infographic from GetCRM identifies 8 types of clients that are best avoided if one wants to keep one’s sanity and there are many more besides. Of course, you want to say yes to everyone, and maintain good relationships, but it turns out that “No” can be a powerful way to work smarter.
It’s crucial to identify the signs that point to undesirable clients so that you do not make the mistake of falling in with someone who will waste your money, your time, or give you gray hairs.
There are indications right off the bat — red flags that will allow you to answer the question: how much is working with this person really worth?
Some of these include:
Erratic communication: if the client spends too much time to get back to you on the logistics of a meeting, it’s likely that they will be unreliable in the future.
Late night correspondence: 4 am emails are a bad sign that this client will expect you to be on call at all hours.
Obnoxious references (or pleading) related to your standard fee: It’s likely you’ve priced yourself the way you have for good reason. You’re worth it. Anyone who makes snide comments like “I didn’t expect it to cost that much” or “might you do it for me for less as a first timer” is likely not worth it — likewise, you will want to cut bait if someone wants you to work on spec or for the exposure. No, thank you.
Complaints about previous people they’ve worked with: Is it possible that if they have gone through a number of qualified people that something is wrong with them?
Clients often make unreasonable demands on your time, because they have only their own project in mind. Those who are lacking in empathy, will not recognize your other priorities.
What If You Can’t Steer Clear?
Of course, there are clients that will have negative characteristics that for reasons of seniority, nepotism, or other necessity you will not be able to avoid. If that is the case, it is up to you to create an environment wherein the worst of your hellish clients’ offenses can be controlled.
The most important thing is to be clear and upfront about expectations. Lay down strict ground rules when it comes to what your time is worth and what they can expect from your output. Remind clients that you have an unbending policy about time utilization and (while anything can be solved with enough money) whatever may cause you to work longer than the established time will cost them.
If it is a boss that is giving you this kind of trouble, talk to them clearly about prioritization. Often your superior doesn’t really know what is on your plate. Inform them that you would be happy to work on their project, but it will mean that you will have to lose something else.
Once they understand that you can’t clone yourself, they will have to learn to pick what is most important to them, is it you redo the office so that the files are alphabetical by color, or that payroll actually goes out?
See the infographic below for more examples of clients to avoid. Then think long and hard before taking one on.