We’ve all had bad clients.

We all know inherently what they are, that something just doesn’t feel right, but there are definite signs.

It’s spooky season, and as Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year (especially since my hometown of Melbourne just emerged from 111 days of lockdown), I wanted to share the three warning signs that you’ve got a bad client on your hands that you need to cut loose.

Let’s get into it — all treats and NO tricks. 😉

#1 Sign of a Bad Client: They don’t follow processes

When you ask your client to follow some processes that you’ve got in place for reasons for your business so everything is streamlined and you can provide service to all of your clients, and for your agency to deliver results, you need clients to follow certain things to keep your end of the bargain, or you’ve got to deliver them as per the contract.

If there’s always resistance to what you are doing, and if you are asking for documents to complete campaigns and they’re not providing them but instead, asking questions about things that have nothing to do with them (e.g. technical questions about the chatbot), that is the sign of a bad client.

You know that they won’t follow and respect your processes and argue with you every time every step of the way.

That’s a big problem.

So resistance to your processes that causes stress for you and your team definitely signs of a bad client.

#2 Sign of a Bad Client: Emails! Emails! Emails!

Relentless emails!

We said bye, bye, bye, to one client last year because they were relentlessly emailing.

They’d hired a marketing manager for three days a week. All she did for the three days a week was send me four emails a day, asking technical information about the chatbot, and saying she needed it ASAP, instead of sending me documents I needed to complete campaigns.

We’d send one email saying, “yep we’ve got this.” She would come back with three emails! So we had five emails from one organisation. And that is the sign of a bad client.

And when you said to them: “Hey, I’m gonna go work out how to implement this change”. They said, “Well we need to do it ASAP”.

Everything to this client is an emergency. They’re blowing up your phone, they’re blowing up your email.

Basically, what that is called is “I want a million dollars of service for $500 a month.”

So if they’re relentlessly emailing, calling you and saying everything’s an emergency: that is the sign of a bad client. So, it’s time to be very, very mindful of your time.

#3 Sign of a Bad Client: Withholding payment

Clients who withhold payment for petty things even when you try to talk to them about the issues and be fair and reasonable and a business owner ﹘ yep, they’re bad clients!

You gotta pay me so I can pay my team and deliver your results!

If you have a client who’s withholding payment without telling you their grievances, even if you’ve tried to talk to them about it, or if they are withholding payment and have zero grievances, that is definitely a bad client.

Consent is sexy. No means no. Even when it comes to clients, so fire at will.

Remember these three things:

  1. Bad clients don’t follow your processes.
  2. Think Oprah — you get an email! You get an email! (Bad clients also treating everything like an emergency when it’s not.)
  3. Bad clients won’t show you the money. They’re withholding payment.

So that’s three things you need to know about a bad client.

Have you had a bad client before?

How did you deal with them?

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