Dealing with difficult clients?
I hear horror stories all the time from my colleagues and clients about their own customers (also — vendors, mastermind group members, partners and employees) who constantly step outside the boundaries of what’s considered good social behavior.
Sure, we all make mistakes from time-to-time, but these folks make a nasty habit of it.
Your overall health and your quality of business life matters. Identifying and dealing with crazymakers will give you a helping hand in creating the business you want.
I interviewed five psychologists, asking about how to recognize and work with these types of difficult clients. In Part 1 of this article, I talk about how to spot them. In Part 2, I give you 18 ways to deal with them.
I’m sure you’ll recognize some of these types of customers:
- The Non-payer: They promise to pay, they may even have a contract, but over and over again the check doesn’t arrive. They pretend they didn’t get your invoice, or your emails, or your phone calls.
- The Verbal Twister: They “remember” everything you say, and will tell you that you said (and what you meant by what you said) — often completely different than your actual words. They take all your words and interpret them in their own way, especially when it’s not possible for you to remember everything you’ve ever said. They think they’re psychic and “know” what you meant behind your words instead of taking your words at face value.
- The Complainer: Everything in their life sucks, and they tell you about it ad nauseam, every chance they get; also known as The Squeaky Wheel because they feel if they make enough noise, they’ll get more attention. Also akin to The Energy Vampire — every time you come in contact with them, you walk away feeling drained, exhausted and debilitated.
- I Love You, But: This crazymaker starts off praising you. They say things like, “I love working with you,” or “You really understand me.” In the next sentence they rip you apart, accusing you of double-dealing, sub-standard work, or unethical behavior on your part, completely out of the blue. This “give then take” approach keeps you off balance — which is the whole point. If you’re off balance, they have the power.
- The Rusher: Always in a hurry to get something done and doesn’t care if you’re busy with other projects or other clients. They say things like, “I want it yesterday,” or “I know you said you have no open appointments, but can you squeeze me in first thing tomorrow morning?”
- The Naysayer: No matter how many creative solutions you come up with, the Naysayer can find a reason why it won’t work, could never work, hasn’t ever worked in the entire history of mankind. They exhaust you, then are unhappy with the results they’re not getting because they won’t change their behavior (and it’s all your fault because you didn’t come up with the one idea that they’d actually be willing to implement out of the 100 you gave them).
That’s just a starter list; there are many more crazymaker types out there.
I know you’ve run into business connections whose repeated bad behavior has you scratching your head in bewilderment.
Remember, unless you are a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, you are not trained to identify crazymakers upon first meeting them, so don’t beat yourself up if one of these people sneaks into your business life. Even trained mental health practioners cannot always instantly spot a crazymaker.
In Part 2 of this blog post, I’ll give you 18 ways to deal with the crazymaker clients in your business life.