Have you had a client who gives you nightmares?
If you haven’t yet, you’re not off the hook. If you are a coach or trainer, you are bound to come across the toxic client.
As a self-publishing coach and trainer, I like to meet my clients face-to-face for the first session.
I remember one client who showed up with her boyfriend. Nothing wrong with that, but he insisted on being a part of our discussion.
For the price of one, I ended up coaching two. The worst part was, the boyfriend asked twenty questions that were quite annoying.
After that experience and a few more nightmare clients, I made up my mind I’ll always avoid the toxic client -no matter how much they offer me.
Having trained several people on my journey, I’ve become better at recognizing the toxic ones.
TOXIC CLIENTS WILL HARM YOU
You need to recognize and avoid toxic clients because they cause a lot of harm and poison your business as Gerri says.
Here’s how they will harm you:
- They will make you lose your sleep and give you nightmares.
- They will make you lose any confidence you have.
- They will make you lose your appetite.
- They will spoil your mood for days which can affect your health.
- They can go as far as ruining your reputation by calling you a scam.
- They are bad for business.
QUICKLY LOOK FOR THESE WARNING SIGNS
1. They like to bargain with your price
That is the first red flag. In my example, by my client arriving with her boyfriend, my price dropped by half -since I was coaching two for the price of one.
There is nothing wrong with a client going on a payment plan or paying you in phases, however, toxic clients want your stuff all for free.
2. Toxic clients ignore boundaries
They seem blind to professional communication. They tend to make unrealistic demands. They have no respect for you as a professional.
You need to set boundaries, so they do not ignore them.
3. Toxic clients want to get-rich-quick
They ask questions like, “how can I make thousands of dollars quickly?”
They feel it is your responsibility to make them rich tomorrow.
They don’t want to put in the work or time but merely want a quick fix now.
4. Toxic clients condescendingly speak to you
They take on the superiority complex attitude. They expect you to be impressed with the fact that they approached you because they think they are doing you a favor.
5. Toxic clients will immediately question if you are qualified to train them
They even ask to see your certificates and what university trained you. They ask you how many people you’ve taught, even if you have testimonials to show.
6. Toxic clients act entitled
They feel it is your job to sort them out, and they throw a tantrum when things get tough.
They tend to attack you and come across as rude and aggressive.
7. Toxic clients blame you for their slow or lack of progress
You have probably heard them complain. They say stuff like, “your course or coaching is not good enough and they could have found it on Google.” – Of course, after they’ve benefited from your training.
8. Toxic clients hate contracts
Contracts are significant because they bind both you and your client. One cannot act outside of the deal because you can remind them what they signed. Toxic clients are afraid of signing contracts because they want to be free to harass you with no boundaries.
Now that you know the red flags to look out for, you need to know your ideal client.
DECIDE FROM THE GET-GO WHO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH
To avoid toxic clients, you need to know if your potential client is ready for your coaching or training?
If you are offering a service; are they willing to follow your terms?
Be crystal clear, so you don’t regret down the road.
Ask them relevant questions to have an idea of what they want.
Unless you are selling a course on a platform like Udemy where there is no student-trainer interaction, you want to engage with your potential client before you sign them up.
Remember, not everyone is your ideal client.
Many people will not resonate with you, and that is quite OK.
A good client can become toxic if you don’t offer what they expected. Be sure you have what they need.
Clearly state who you don’t work with.
As you advertise for your coaching or training, share who is NOT your ideal client.
The whiners will flee and the criticizers will get offended.
This is good for you because you will remain with the right people -or your ideal client.
QUICKLY FIRE THE TOXIC CLIENT
Time is precious, don’t waste it bargaining with toxic people because you will get no-where.
If they have paid you, refund their money as soon as possible.
Leo Babauta says “cut them out.”
Your peace of mind has no price.
If you keep a toxic client, you may get an ulcer or heart attack.
Your health is too important.
HAVE AN ABUNDANCE MENTALITY
There are clients everywhere and losing one will not affect your business. In fact, it is an opportunity to market more so you get other clients.
If you are doing a good job coaching or training, you will always have clients because your happy students will refer new ones to you.
What is your experience with a toxic client?
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