10 Sure-Fire Signs Your Dream Client Is a Nightmare

The prospect you are pursuing spends much money in your space. They use a great deal of what you sell. Always have, and always will. Winning their business will move you very close to reaching your goal, and they’re engaged in the sales conversation with you now. But before you decide that revenue is all that matters, look for these ten sure-fire signs that your dream client is a nightmare.

  1. Complaining About Their Partner: The more your contact is willing to criticize, complain, or trash their existing supplier, the more likely it is that they are a nightmare client. You might view their complaints as proof they are dissatisfied and a compulsion to change. It is more likely evidence they may be a difficult client with unrealistic expectations. Your competitor is not terrible, and if they are being torn apart in your discovery meeting, you might be next.
  2. Frequently Changes Partners: The more often a prospective client changes partners, the more confident you can be that there is something wrong on their side. When clients are partner-oriented, they work through challenges and obstacles to the performance they need. The fact that a prospective client changes more often than is customary in your industry is cause for concern.
  3. Hyper-Focused on Price: Your dream clients are willing to invest in the results they want, need, and expect you to deliver. They are willing to pay a little more to ensure they are investing in their results. The more time and attention your prospect places on their price, the less they spend on the outcomes they need. Every client is obligated to ask you for your best price, but your dream clients won’t make price the most significant part of the sales conversation.
  4. Changes for Price Reduction: If your prospective client has changed for a price reduction more than once, you are safe in suspecting that they will change for a lower price again. When you provide a lower price that compels a prospect to change, your competitor’s lower price will compel them to leave you for a few pennies.
  5. Believes You Are a Commodity: What you sell is perceived as a commodity. You, however, don’t have to behave like a commodity. When your sales approach creates value for your client, it should prevent commoditization. When your prospective client treats you like you are a commodity, like the purchase is a transaction, that is often enough for you to suspect your prospect isn’t going to be a dream client.
  6. Adversarial Approach: When your contacts portray that they are adversarial in the sale conversation, you now know what your relationship is going to look like when they sign your contract. Your dream clients are never going to be adversarial. Your best clients will be partner-oriented, wanting you to succeed and treating you as an essential part of your team. If you ignore these red flags, you are likely bringing on a problematic client. A nightmare client can sneak through your filters, becoming a new, challenging, regrettable client.
  7. Withholding Information: Withholding is never healthy in a relationship. If your contacts refuse to share information you need to serve them, you’re in trouble. More than ever, the transfer of information between the sales organization and their client is critical to success. When your client doesn’t share information, you will struggle to serve them.
  8. Poor Communication: Not too many things can damage results like poor communication. A client that communicates too infrequently, especially when you have tried to communicate, is challenging to serve. The quality of communication is also an indication of the health of your relationship, as well as how well you will do helping your client.
  9. Refusal to Make Change: A client that refuses to make the changes they need to make to produce results they need is troublesome. The Commitment to Execute is critical to the value you sold. You are going to be held accountable for delivering that value. This makes for a bad client.
  10. Late Payments: Some companies cannot pay their bills. Your BB sales process prevents you from taking them as clients. From time to time, you will bring on a new customer who can pay, but who is unwilling to pay. You will call and ask them for payment. They promise they are taking care of it, even though it won’t show up.

Winning a nightmare client will end up being the same as not winning a client. Better spend your time on what will be good clients.

Filed under: Sales

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