You know the saying that ‘the customer is always right?’.
Well are they …?
A client of mine asked about this, and it sparked a conversation about the ‘nightmare client’.
It’s a situation that is common (and for this client, exhausting and damaging as you’ll see in a moment). What’s more, there is a real price to pay when you follow the “customer is always right” platitude.
My client, let’s call him Dave, has been helping his client. He’s done a superb job and has devoted HUGE amounts of time and effort into this support. He has used professional skill and has helped his client avoid what was a potentially life-changing risky situation.
The client is a NIGHTMARE!
He takes Dave’s skill and professionalism for granted. He shows no gratitude. He behaves as if he has no idea of the personal risk he was facing, and is unaware of the skill and dedication Dave’s providing.
Worse than this … after Dave helped his client so significantly, he’s now told Dave “I think you charge too much and we’re going elsewhere …”
It is unfair … however, it’s life
So what is happening here in this situation, why is Dave experiencing this?
There are, I think, three potential causes that all tie together.
… they are all in the mind.
- The Nice Guy Syndrome
- Scarcity of clients
- Not enough clarity
The Nice Guy Syndrome
This can sound pejorative, when in fact in this context it refers to being values led and delivering a professional service to everyone.
That’s all very worthy, right?
Yet there’s a price to pay for the Nice Guy Syndrome.
What is happening in this situation …?
It is likely that you have the belief that you don’t have a right, you may lack assertiveness. When you need to be saying “I HAVE a right to this action or to this opinion”
It’s likely that you don’t have enough clarity about the rights that you do have.
The resolution of course, does not mean you need to be a ‘horrible guy’ who lacks morals and values. It is simply saying that you don’t need to ‘prostitute’ yourself. You don’t need to give everything to someone who will not reciprocate and be grateful.
You have your OWN values.
What is essential to solving this, is understanding who is benefitting from you being a ‘nice guy’.
Which comes back to the question posed at the start ‘Is the customer or the client always right?’
The answer to this … is NO.
It is YOUR business, it is YOUR life.
The business is there to give you the 3Fs – financial security, freedom and fulfilment. Having a nightmare client hinders the latter two Fs.
You don’t have a business to be busy, you have it to create your life. You have a business to serve YOU, so you must come first.
Being a ‘Nice Guy’ can diminish all of that by giving away who really comes first!
Scarcity of Clients
The second idea comes from a fear that there is a lack of clients, or the concern that it’s difficult to find clients … it’s tempting to believe that any client is better than no clients.
Again … there’s a real price to holding this belief!
Let’s understand how the mind works; there are events, and then there is the meaning or the interpretation that we wrap around that event.
In this case, the event could be a meeting you had with a potential client who then did not turn into a client. You had a conversation and you didn’t get what you wanted to happen; you didn’t get a new client in the end.
That’s just an event, there’s no emotion in there.
Now, when you put meaning onto the event and add in the emotion and the fear, you might think “I’m never going to find a new client, maybe every prospect will have the same reaction”.
But, let’s just check what the reality is here …
Opportunities and potential clients are EVERYWHERE.
If scarcity is your fear, you probably haven’t really got a marketing problem. What you have got is an offer problem.
You need to find the message that will connect with your potential clients. They will then be able to ‘hear’ you as you will be talking THEIR language.
So … scarcity is NOT real. Opportunities and potential clients are everywhere.
When you believe opportunities are scarce, you’ll make decisions that may come with a price … as Dave has experienced recently.
When you recognise opportunities are everywhere, it becomes much easier to make decisions in your business that continue to make it serve YOU.
Not Enough Clarity
The third possible cause is not having enough personal clarity about what you want in your life and how you want your business to serve your life.
When you lack such clarity, it’s tempting to prioritise and honour whatever the client wants, however unpleasant they may be. You convince yourself that it’s the right thing to do, because you’re a ‘nice guy’ and you’re values led. “Maybe this client is better than no clients?”
When you don’t have this clarity, then why wouldn’t you give and give (and give!) to a client? When you’re the ‘nice guy’ it makes you feel good.
Maybe Dave feeling bad still feels good, in some perverse fashion.
When you do constantly give, and you’re not clear what YOU are getting in return, whether it’s financial, spiritual or emotional … there’s a problem!
So … what’s the solution?
Get CLEAR what you really want in your business, given it’s purpose is to create the life YOU want.
What kind of clients do you want to work with? Dave certainly doesn’t want to work with his nightmare client.
How This Applies
Are you working with anyone in your business who is sapping you? Someone who is more trouble than they are worth?
If you are … what are you going to do about it?
If you do continue, will you continue to suffer the experience of being the ‘nice guy’, feeling unable to fire the client due to the fear of scarcity?
It’s worth reflecting on what is going on in YOUR world and what you want to happen in your life?
When Dave’s situation sounds anything like a your own, there are three things you can take action on or think about:
The first is to ask yourself “What price am I paying by continuing with this?”.
There’s no avoiding reality: putting undeserved energy into serving a client, will impact another part of your business.
Be clear on whether you CHOOSE to pay the price, because it IS a choice …
The second, is to come and join our Facebook Group. You can find more content to help you grow in your business and to get to where you want to be, to get a business that serves YOU.
And when you have recognised the price that you’re paying and you are ready to do something about it, the third action is to email or message me.
I hate seeing someone like Dave suffering like this – someone who’s so professionally able. I don’t want anybody to be doing something that’s harming their future business and their life as a result.
So … get in touch and maybe you CAN look at it a different way, maybe there is something in the way you’re thinking that needs turning around.
You don’t need to work that out alone.