• Madison James

5 Client Types You Need To Sack

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

We focus so much of our time on gaining and maintaining client relationships that we don't often address the issue of the occasional problematic client and how to deal with them. So that's exactly what I'm going to do with the five personality traits that I actively try to avoid.

1. The timewaster

This is a client who makes a booking but repeatedly cancels last minute due to other stuff going on in her life. Of course, there are times when we may all need to reschedule a meeting but when this happens constantly, there is an issue that is unlikely to be resolved. Not only does it waste your time, but it can also prevent you from scheduling other bookings on that day. To deal with this I've developed a simple three strike rule unless there are exceptional circumstances or I have a particularly good relationship with the client and I know it's not a perpetual habit.

2. The control freak

This is the client who thinks that because they are paying for your time, that you are an assistant who should do as you are told. It's an easy situation to find yourself in when dealing with clients who often have hired help and are accustomed to ordering people around. The way to deal with this is to set clear boundaries and nip it in the bud with clear and concise communication. If that doesn't work, it may be time to let this client go unless you are prepared to put up with that. I personally wouldn't recommend it and would not keep a client on my books who thought that type of behaviour was acceptable.

3. The over-indulger

Most of us like a drink when we go out but some clients tend to overindulge at inconvenient and embarrassing times that are probably best avoided. I'm not talking about the occasion when your client drank too much, threw up on your fresh white shirt and needed you to carry her up to her hotel room - we're gentlemen after all. No, I'm referring to the client who has a drinking problem that interferes with your time together and could potentially be dangerous. In cases like this, I would have an honest and frank discussion about the issue and advise her to seek professional assistance. As much as you may want to help, there is a level of professionalism required that sometimes calls for difficult decisions to be made.

4. The self-obsessed

We can all be a little narcissistic but there are some who take this to a new level. Some clients can be so wrapped up in their own head that you become no more than an accessory to be used at their disposal. Everything revolves around them and it has to be their way or not at all. They rarely ask for your opinion on matters that have a direct impact on you and assume that you will just go along because you are being paid. Clients like this, in my opinion, are way too much hard work and my dignity is not for sale.

5. The bad communicator

This is something that I repeat often - the importance of good communication is the key and without it, relationships become problematic. If you are unable to communicate with a client because they constantly shut you down or talk over you like your opinion doesn't matter, for me that's a serious red flag. We can all interrupt and talk over one another at times but for some people, this habit is deeply ingrained and is unlikely to change. And if that's how they choose to be, that's their prerogative but it's not something that I would put up with.

Thankfully, I have been pretty fortunate with the clients I've had the privilege of spending time with but I have experienced the occasional bad apple. Finding the right type of client who you connect with is much like dating, you really don't know until you spend some time together and moved past the initial getting to know you period when everyone is usually on their best behaviour.

The thing to bear in mind is that this is not something that should rile you or result in rudeness towards a client, ever. You can make your stance abundantly clear and yet remain courteous and calm. Remember, everyone has the right to behave how they see fit, and you have the right to choose whether to accept it or not.

We'll talk again soon.

Your friend,


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© 2019 Madison James Consulting