Although this article is geared towards small business owners, the information is just as applicable to a similar personal situation, only the action is slightly different.
Here is the scenario. You have begun your day at work. Your day is planned ahead, with the big challenges first. You want to finish these up, get them out of the way and take a little time off this afternoon for yourself. You deserve and need it to stay your best for your family, yourself and your customers.
Just as you get into your first task of the morning, the phone rings.
“I need help right now!” It’s Joe Blow, your most troublesome customer (friend).
For the last six months, Joe has been coming to you with his problems (never challenges or opportunities) expecting you to drop everything and help him.
From the very beginning you realized it was probably a mistake to have taken Joe on as a customer. No matter how much you charge Joe for your services, Joe will never be satisfied, and you will never make a profit.
Joe, and customers like him, seem to have an innate ability to attract problems as honey does bees. Of course he blames everyone else, waits until the last minute, and calls you to bail him out.
What do you do,
Don’t. By fulfilling Joe’s needs for instant gratification, and allowing him to create a habit of calling you instead of installing disciplines of his own you are hurting not only him, but you as well.
Don’t bail him out. Be honest with him, and yourself.
Refer him to someone who can help him if necessary. Try this: “Joe, although I appreciate your business, in my opinion my company is not serving you in the manner you require, and this is not a good fit for both of us. With your permission, I am going to refer you to a company that I believe will be a much better match for your needs.”
You should have a list of at least 100 people of every profession to whom you refer business and expect them to return the favor.
You haven’t done that, Refer Joe to an organizational, or business coach. Refer him to a competitor. Let them have him. You get rid of him and saddle them at the same time! Seriously though, you need to keep your priorities in line and in focus. Customers like Joe, no matter how well they pay, are seldom profitable when you factor in time, actual costs and energy consumed.
Focus on the customers or clients you want to attract, and make sure you have room in your business when they do show up. They always do.