Worse Than No Customer? A Bad Customer

Recently I once again taught my very popular class, “Dynamically Growing a Consulting Business,” at the local SBA/SCORE office. Every class is different, which makes it fun. Whether there are 10 or 25 people we go in whatever directions the students choose to go.

Sometimes we do a few “hot seats,” with students up front role playing, and sometimes we’ll do 8-10 of them. One item I distinctly remember from the last class is my saying at least a few times:

“The only thing worse than no client is a bad client.”

It’s a variation of what I say to business buyers and sellers, “The only thing worse than no deal is a bad deal.” It’s something we all need to keep in mind, no matter what business we’re in.

Not all, but most people reading this offer a service or have a B2B business (very few retail subscribers). This means most of you are in a relationship oriented business, not a big-box, “Go to aisle 27, right side, about 2/3 of the way down the aisle.”

Recently I and an associate met two prospective clients, both of which we felt will be enjoyable to work with because they came across as honest, outgoing, and reasonable. There are times when prospective clients/customers decide not to work with us (from Counselor Selling I learned the four reasons why are no need, no hurry, no money, or no trust, with the last one often disguised by saying one of the other three).

The point I made in my class was we need to be just as fussy with whom we take on as a client/customer. The vast majority of people are good to work with, just watch out for the few difficult ones.

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller

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