Difficult Customers: Know When to Call it Quits


When it comes to dealing with difficult customers, when is it best to bite your tongue and when is it appropriate to tell a cantankerous client to “talk to the hand?” Although business dictates that the customer is always right, frankly you know sometimes the customer isn't right for your business. Read more to find out when to cut your losses and begin building less contentious – and more profitable – business relationships.

Not every customer is easy to deal with. Just about any business owner has had their share of clients who make unreasonable demands, are indecisive or who just take up too much time.

If you find yourself dreading certain phone calls or avoiding face-to-face interactions with particular clients, it may be time to weed out your customer base. Here's how to tell when it's time to move on:

Know when to fold. When it comes to sales, persistence pays. But if you find yourself calling on customers who don't recognize the value of your

problem customers

We bring to the table, over 30 years of business ownership, c-level executive leadership, the experience of managing 100’s of people at once from a remote location, the challenges of balancing family with your entrepreneurship and the objectivity that fuels our insight and oversight of your business. When we’re first approached about the possibility and opportunity of working together on your business, we spend hours getting to know you, your challenges, what makes you tick and the business model you have developed. It’s so important to understand your why of what you do. It’s so important to understand what drives your passion. It’s so important to understand what your goals and objectives are. It’s so important to understand the depth and complexities of what makes you unique.

product or service, or with whom you just can't “connect,” maybe it's best to walk away. Doggedly pursing a weak lead takes you away from more productive encounters.

Remember the 80/20 Rule. Take a good, hard look at your customers and identify which ones are responsible for the most business and which ones give you the most headaches. One business rule-of-thumb states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Focus on those customers that have the most potential to add to your bottom line.

Get to the root of the problem. Before you give up on a customer, find out what may be behind his or her resistance. Ask if there is anyone else who should be involved in the decision-making process. Or pin them down by asking what they need from you to make a decision by the end of the day, week or month. You may uncover the key to getting the sale back on track, or you may find out that the relationship isn't right for either of you.

Know your ROI. Is the time you are spending on a particular customer worth what you are getting back? How much time have you already invested in this client without positive results? Know what your value is. Identify how much time you are willing to spend, and the absolute bottom line price of your product or service, to make your efforts worthwhile.

Don't burn your bridges. Who knows what the future holds? It may be tempting to tell a problem customer that they are more trouble than they are worth, but it is always best to walk away on friendly terms. Instead, bring the relationship to a close by saying that you are not a good match for each other. Even better, recommend another product or service that may better meet their needs. Keep the lines of communication open for the future.

Difficult customers can put your skill and character to the test. Hard-to-please clients also can detract from your bottom line. Knowing when to call it quits with a client can be a positive step in boosting your bottom line.


Copyright 2015 Viral Solutions LLC

by Thomas von Ahn | Chief Elephant Slayer

thomas von ahn viral solutions

Watch out elephants! This slayer of business challenges comes with 30 years of record breaking sales, marketing, operations, training and leadership experience . He has worked face-to-face with 100’s of small business owners as well as large firms. His love of creating, communicating, developing and executing results for clients shines with each project, publication and training event. His entrepreneurial spirit, passion, industry experience, education, problem-solving prowess, charismatic personality and been-there-done that attitude leads his client focused approach.

Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant.

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