Tips for Marketers: Identifying and Dealing With A Tough Client
Six years of owning a marketing firm has taught me something that I don’t think I could of learned any other way. Not all clients are a good fit. Of course, that’s a hard line to hold when you know someone is going to pay you for services and you need the cash. I’m not saying to not take the job, just be aware of the traits of that person and their company to begin to identify the ideal client for your marketing business. You’ll be able to identify winning clients in the future, increasing your value and your own happiness.
How clients can become tough
Most bad clients become bad clients because they weren’t communicated to effectively in the beginning or they had unrealistic expectations of what was going to be delivered. This can turn into a sticky situation making all parties uncomfortable. It’s important that in your pitch to prospects that they understand what is going to be delivered and what the outcome is going to be.
The smart client understands that marketing can encompass many variables and that they hired you to help coordinate, organize, create and drive business through your services. There is no one magic tool, but several tools that need to be working together, saying the right thing at the right time to create a winning brand.
Your style might be different
Personality differences or managerial styles can make your days long and painful. I remember we worked with a company that the owner paid well, but he was indecisive. Brilliant man. Actually, I think he was too brilliant. Even though the monthly retainer was great, the emotional, financial and constant drain on my teams confidence nearly destroyed our company. That’s not an over exaggeration. Be careful, with personality differences they can cause you tremendous amount of unnecessary anxiety. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be able to sleep at night.
Another thing to take into account is that your client’s are in business to make money. You are too. Don’t let client’s take advantage of you. We can get caught up in the work and forget to charge. I’m guilty of that. Most clients will appreciate the over-achievement, but there are some that take advantage of your passion. Keep track of your work and notify your client that they might have to pay more.
Finding greener pastures
So how do you deal with these situations? Well, you can build “outs” into your agreements that allow you to amicably part ways. You can also try to talk it out and get your client on the same page. Sometimes just speaking clearly about what it is your trying to do can solve the problem. If you are a bigger company, try switching your team around. Have a different point of contact who might be able salvage the relationship. But at the end, it’s what you said upfront. What did you sell? How are you delivering? What is your measurement? That can help alleviate any future stress.
Just remember, like all your relationships, not everyone is a good fit. That’s not something to be afraid of, it’s something to be aware of. Difficult clients can drain energy, time and ultimately cost YOU money.
After six years of doing this, I can tell you I’ve got a good handle of a good client. Those are the ones you’ll do anything for. You believe in their business and they believe in you and your company. So don’t stop searching. Your perfect client is out there!
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