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What do you do when clients go weird on you?1085

Belew private msg quote post Address this user
Every other week I drive about 45 minutes one way to meet with a client.

We spend a couple of hours ... usually longer ... that's what you do, right? Give more than paid for.

Then I drive 45 minutes back home.

Yesterday I made the drive. Sat down to start working ... agenda in place....client arrived 20 mins late.

First thing to come out of the client's mouth, "I only have an hour. I have to cut back on consulting."

At the end of the hour-ish, he stood up, walked over to his computer, sat down and put on his head phones and started talking. Nothing said to me. I was standing there like an idiot, thinking "'huh?' What just happened?"

We've been doing this for several months and during the one hour I showed him some positive trends in the results.

The whole thing was/is totally bizarre.

No email response, no text response. Generally too busy to answer the phone.

Weirded out here.

Has it ever happened to you?

How did you handle it?
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bdaoust private msg quote post Address this user
So familiar a scene. It has happened in the corporate world (my case Cisco), and with others as well. Is there an explanation? Probably, but it is not always that evident.

From the corporate world, it came from the next level of manager had changed expectations and was dumping my project (without telling me or my manager). The communication totally failed and I felt like, you say, an Idiot just sitting there.

In my consulting world, it came from a client that decided to "do it on his own" because he didn't see the value I was bringing to the table. I had shown him enough that he felt he could now take charge. Maybe it was me giving too much? Back to the story, the client got a third party to take me to coffee and started to drill me on my expertise. This was really strange. I knew something was up and questioned back. The next morning, I no longer had the client. The next month, he was back for more. This time, I didn't take him on, I dent him to a competitor. My trust level was too low at that point and I did not want to waste time going nowhere.

Your case maybe to mention that you will meet again when he has the time to focus on the conversation. If he is too busy right now, perhaps a zoom or hangout meeting would work. At least this way he is on his computer with you.
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tienny private msg quote post Address this user
I wonder too. I help a friend in wordpress who is my ex-colleague as a token of gratitude for his honesty and kindness. It takes time for him to reply.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Thanks for sharing your story.

It was really bizarre to say the least.

I reached out again this morning via text before he gets busy.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water....
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morrnel private msg quote post Address this user
You simply assume something is going on in the "sh*t happened" box.
It's a consulting relationship you have and it's less important at the moment.
Perhaps you were giving too much and that put pressure on other things he needed to focus on.
Don't worry and move on to other clients.
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Rev private msg quote post Address this user
Every now and then you simply have to fire a client. I've only done it about a half dozen times in my life but sometimes it is unavoidable.

I had it happen last month. I took on a client at the beginning of the year. She had deadlines to meet and, because of going back to school, had no money and little time to commit. I agreed to take her on at a price much lower than my going rate. She initiated a monthly auto-payment subscription (I find that is better than trying to encourage payment each month directly).

Payments were made for six months. I over-delivered. She kept asking for more than we had originally discussed/documented. Then I got a phone call towards the end of last month. "You've been taking money from my bank account! We didn't agree on that!" I calmly explained that I did not have access to her accounts -- not even her credit card number (I prefer it that way) and that she had set up the auto-pay process from within her own account.

The client wanted her money back. She threatened and then initiated a charge-back process with the payment processor. I supplied the documentation I always keep. She lost.

Every now and then you simply have to fire a client.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

That's a good, um, bad story.

It was just totally bizarre how it came down.

I had a student sign up to send me money monthly. She then disputed the costs. I supplied the documentation and LOST! I couldn't believe it.

You win some ... I lose some, I reckon.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I stayed the high road, gave him the benefit of the doubt, followed up with a text...and got the nicest response and apology for 'clumsy behavior.'

We are back on track. Phew!

We just, sometimes, don't know what is going on in people's lives.

It's best to keep trying to keep a relationship. It's a lot easier than trying to build a new one.

When was the last time you went above and beyond to keep a relationship going?
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tienny private msg quote post Address this user
Recently, I solve the upload score online in the server. I feel that working as partners is the best option. I miss my old days during school days. A friend markets the service and get sales. Another friend and I are doing the creative work. The marketing friend deliver the work and collects the payment. I miss it.
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Steve private msg quote post Address this user
I once had a client throw a childrens tantrum in the middle of our office, she was jumping up and down, arms swinging... the complete works... when she calmed down, she was asked to leave and never come back. She remained a client and was extremely embarrassed about it all ...

I had another client throw the guilt trip on us, wanting more and more unless I said no go away we don't want you as a client... She cried then and the sales person I had at the time asked if she could stay a client as long as he dealt with her and I never had to. Which worked for around 3 more years.

There is an old say, to win an argument with a client is to lose that client ... and that always holds true, I had a client late last year, argue with me about the ownership of his website. I purposely proved my point and he lost, he is no longer a client ...

I think it takes some people a lifetime to learn that not all clients are right for them and that some clients can be bad for you.
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Belew private msg quote post Address this user

These are great examples.

My client came back very apologetic. We are back on track.
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tienny private msg quote post Address this user
Yes. Great examples.
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bdaoust private msg quote post Address this user
Firing the client is always difficult but in the long run it is so beneficial for your health and piece of mind. I hate to lose the income but I like not getting that knot in my stomach when they appear in my office.
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tienny private msg quote post Address this user
@bdaoust you have a point too.
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