Posted On 05 May 2021
Marama Carmichael

It seems counterintuitive, right? A marketing company telling you to turn away a paying customer! After all, you would not have started your business if you didn’t want it to grow, and you need customers to make growth happen.

But, there are certain types of customers that may not only hinder your company’s development, but do it some serious long term damage. Here are some tips for recognising them, and then quickly sending them on their way.

Customers Who Are Not in Your Target Audience


You created your business to meet the needs of a particular niche. In order to be successful in that niche, you need to understand those customers and satisfy their needs. But some customers aren’t concerned about that. These customers will press you to move heaven and earth to meet their needs, even if your business isn’t designed to do so. In other words, they will want you to change your practice, business model and operations simply to fit their specific demand.

If you were to take on this job, you might cover your costs but you’d also be setting an unpleasant precedent for the future. This customers might come back with further demands of you next time or future customers might ask the same of you knowing you already made the concession. Or, imagine the clean-up you’d need to make if previous customers learned that you did something for a customer you’d previously denied to them!

You’re not prospering in any of these scenarios so don’t make compromises that could haunt you far into the future.

Customers Who Don’t Value Your Time


When a customer doesn’t value your time, they show this by constantly pushing back on deliverables, changing project briefs or simply expecting that it’s your job to go over and above for them at every turn. They may not even really know what they want, but they will be happy to eat up your time until you show them something that helps them figure it out! The time you pour into these clients will not only take you away from your other clients or projects, but from the growing of your business as well.

Pick customers that understand that your time is precious and who come prepared to do business with you. You will have a more productive workday and have enough time left over to spend on the important things – including finding quality time with your loved ones!

Customers Who Don’t Pay You on Time


A client who doesn’t pay you on time not only hurts your business, but doesn’t respect you. Your financial livelihood is dependent on your ability to meet your fiscal obligations. If you have a client who repeatedly fails to pay you on time, be firm in getting from them what is due to you and let them go as soon as you are able. Save your time for customers who recognise the need to compensate you promptly for the goods and services you have helped them enjoy.

Customers Who Don’t Value Your Goods/Services


It’s relatively common to encounter clients who want you to offer them a “better deal” but those who try to get what you are selling for next to nothing don’t appreciate what you are bringing to the table. There is nothing wrong with offering a deal. But if you routinely make deals that only benefit the customer instead of win-win deals, you are cheapening your own services which is not good for company morale. Seek clients who value your services.

Know where to draw the line when making deals and take care not to cross the line you have drawn. And if you get a customer that will not work with you unless you routinely cross that line, let them walk away with love.

Customers Who Are Chronic Complainers


There is one type of customer that can hurt your morale and suck out all your energy. These are the customers known as chronic complainers. This type of client is challenging to satisfy, and most times, it will seem like you are never able to do so. They are generally unreasonable and can sometimes be rude and even disrespectful. Initially, you may feel that you need to work harder to rise to the standards this customer expects of you.

However, if you see that nothing you do appears to satisfy this customer after a while, do not feel bad for telling them you can’t help them. Especially if interactions with this customer begins to take a toll on your team. There is no short-term monetary gain worth the long-term repetitive damage when the customer relationship is not the right fit.

Do You Find it Hard to Say “No”? Here are Some Tips.


Saying “no” may sometimes be a hard conversation to have, but the following tips will make it easier.

  • Once you have made the decision, reject the client promptly. Do not delay.
  • Without going into details, help them understand why you are unable to help them and, if possible, refer them to a business that can.
  • Always thank the client for their interest before turning them away.
  • Be graceful, firm, but polite, and always remain professional.
  • Reject the client in the same format they engaged you (i.e., by phone if they contacted you by phone)

Oracle Tree believes in a strategy-first and holistic approach to finding out exactly where your business needs support. This strategy includes coaching for growth and mindset improvement. Saying “no” is not an easy thing. But there are ways to do it to ensure you have the power in the relationship and are not going to offend. Contact us for more insights on how to navigate your business through challenging situations and beyond.

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