Client management: Refusing work

- January 15, 2007 < 1 MIN READ

It would be lovely to think we only ever attracted dream clients to our businesses, but unfortunately we also get the occasional stinker. Here I look at client management and why refusing work is sometimes necessary.

Examples include those who ask us to undertake work that’s beyond (or beneath) our expertise. In these cases we have to weigh up ‘income versus annoyance’ and ensure we are mindful of the potential risk to our reputation.

In my experience with client management, client-funded experimentation is rarely a smart move and work that’s beneath us may well pay the bills, but it sure numbs the mind.

Then there are the ‘payment pest’ brigade. These are the prospects who either don’t want to pay; insist on haggling; expect more than you intended to deliver, or make every conversation about money the verbal equivalent of root canal therapy.

Sometimes trouble can brew because of a simple personality clash. If this is the case we’ll need to determine how that will impact our working relationship and tread carefully before making a commitment.

Finally, we have those prospects who are either devoid of values and ethics or who found theirs in some parallel universe. The easy answer? Run a mile.

So what to do when confronted with the far-from-ideal client? In many cases if the terms of engagement are crystal clear, client management and relationship issues can be overcome and indeed gradually go through a total transformation.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.

I hate to be harsh, but in most cases we attract ‘bad’ clients through our own actions (or inactions). Ouch!

Don’t agree? Lay into me via a comment. Alternatively, you can share your thoughts on client management and refusal. Either way, let’s commit to making this year a client corker.

By the way, big thanks to Dan Norris for suggesting the theme for this article.