Bad Clients Suck Don’t They? (& what to do about it)

From the euphoria of winning a new client to the…

Screams of anguish when that client goes bad.

Chances are you’ve read beyond the first few words of this post for one of two reasons…

1) You have a bad client right now that is driving you up the wall

2) You just seem to regularly attract bad clients and want this to change

And I get it, I’ve totally been there myself.

So let’s first get stuck into…

Avoiding Bad Clients

There’s lots of things you can do to avoid bad clients, but in my experience the following steps work a treat.

Choosing Your Clients – That’s right. Super simple and easy…choosing your clients.

You decide who you work with. Simply because someone can afford you doesn’t mean they get to work with you.

You need to create a checklist. A good client checklist.

Do they have a suitable budget? Will you enjoy working with them? Can you do great work for them? Are they jumping through hoops to work with you?

You want to check that this potential client is going to be a good fit for you.

For every single lead before you invest too much time do a quick acid test to see if they have the potential to be a good fit.

If so, move onto the next stages. Once there before agreeing to work with them do another final check based on the further information you have.

Excluding People In Marketing – A great way to avoid bad clients is to exclude them in your marketing.

Say who this is NOT for, say who it is for. Make it crystal clear the type of people who you do your best work for.

This won’t stop all potential bad clients coming to you but it will weed out quite a few.

Stick To What You Know Works – Another fantastic way to detract bad clients is sticking to your guns.

If you have a certain way of doing things stick to it.

Anyone who tries to force a different way isn’t respecting you and thus would likely try do the same when they’re a client.

This can be as simple as something I used to do, which was… ask them to fill out a short survey before a call.

If they couldn’t be bothered to do that or tried to circumvent it, I knew they were going to be difficult – after all, the first thing I’ve asked them to do they’re already trying to get me moving away from my process.

Finally, and you’ll know this one but have ignored it only to regret it… listen to your gut instinct.

If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t – and if you’re not sure… use that checklist mentioned above to confirm or deny it.

More often than not your gut is right. Especially when you build up a few years of experience.

Now that you know how to avoid those bad clients, what about when one does fall through the net (which no matter how hard you try will happen at some point).

Dealing With Bad Clients

Let’s look at some simple steps to deal with bad clients as effectively as possible.

Communication – Most issues are down to a lack of or mix up of communication. Ensure very clear lines of communication, clear up any disagreements and get everything down via email where you can show a clear paper trail of what’s been said.

Agree A Way Forward – Now you have to find a way forward and you have options. It’s about discussing with your client what they want to happen. Consider ALL the options.

Time Outs – Whether it’s during a call, meeting or just on your own…allow yourself and your client to call a time out, clear your head and come back to this later.

This Too Shall Pass – You won’t remember this bad client in 12 months time, try not to let it become all consuming. Take action, do what you can but try not to dwell on this situation. It too shall pass.

Finally, always remember you don’t have to continue working with a bad client. You have the option to fire them.

The way you do this will depend on the agreement / contract you have, but never forget that this is an option.

If it does come to this I always say, try finish it as well as you can.

They might still be difficult, nasty etc but finish it as well as possible from your side.

I always wanted to say I did what I could and finished it as constructively as possible.

Getting More (of the right) Clients

If you found this useful click the link below to grab a free roadmap which goes into more detail about getting more of the right clients in your business.

Get More (of the right) Clients Roadmap

And if you’re stuck with what to do, have a question or just need some support through a difficult situation make sure to post a discussion in our free business group the YVM Community on Facebook.


Post by Paul Bassi

Paul is the Founder of YVM, facilitates the free help on offer and runs the YVM paid group.

He setup in business in 2010 as a freelance marketer, went onto build over 100+ WordPress websites, published a book and now dedicates most of his time to his passion of helping other business owners.

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