Overzealous Client? Cut Your Losses & Move On

Welcome back, guys! This is a topic near and dear to my heart, it’s about avoiding a potential client because it’s not in the best interest of your health and sanity.

Story time…

Not too long ago I had a potential client who sought me out to help them overcome a web media problem. From what I understand, I was at the bottom of the totem pole as they contacted me as a last resort. I’m not offended about that, truly. I feel vindicated when a potential client passes me over to go through (an avoidable) hell, only to come right back around to me. “I told you so” doesn’t fully capture the irony.

Despite their attempts to hide their emotions, it wasn’t difficult to see how stressed they were. They had all but given up because the project wasn’t providing badly needed income. Instead, it was bleeding money for a few years now. Problems with the project seemed to multiply as the last one was solved. They even commissioned 8+ contractors to help but with no positive results to speak of. I believe the picture is becoming clear to you that there was trouble all around and I was being asked to wave my magic wand and create apple pie out of this mess of ingredients.

I believe the picture is now clear to you. There was a mess in “the kitchen” and I was expected to create apple pie without ingredients. As the internet would say, “hold my beer” lol.

Here’s an analogy that may help you understand what it’s like dealing with web projects…

Imagine that I’m a BMW mechanic. BMW cars have 4 wheels like Ford and Ferrari cars, that makes them similar but not the same. For instance, if your Ford or Ferrari has a flat or needs oil, I can fix that. General things crossover no matter the brand.

In contrast, if your Ford or Ferrari needs a transmission replacement, I  might be able to help, but I can’t guarantee it. I won’t know for sure how helpful or not helpful I can be without knowing what’s going under the hood.

Like the BMW mechanic, I have brand specific skills that include crossover skills that work despite the brand. In the case of this potential client, they wanted me to guarantee success outside my brand specific skills without allowing a full assessment. How do I know? Glad you asked. I was adamant about:

  1. Not adding myself to the list of failed contractors
  2. Never padding costs, unfair pricing or price gouging
  3. Evaluating the project completely and making recommendations (even if the recommendation was to seek assistance with another contractor/specialist who would better connect with their needs).
  4. Never promising to something I couldn’t guarantee I could deliver.

After hearing that and receiving 90% completed assessment (pro bono), they opted to back out of the business relationship because “they felt overwhelmed”. I’m not sure what that response means when someone goes above and beyond to protect your interest, but I digress. It was followed by something to the effect of “All I need is XYZ, nothing else”. Needless to say, I was more than happy to agree with their plea of being overwhelmed and immediately cut ties.

What’s the takeaway from all these shenanigans…

You should’ve picked up on a couple clues:

  1. Who makes 8+ mistakes in hiring contractors? At some point, you have to admit that the contractor is not the problem if you are still making the same mistake in your hiring practices. There’s a saying: FOOL ME ONCE, FOOL ME TWICE (you know the rest).
  2. If someone is giving you facts, honesty, saving you money, giving actionable advice to grow your business, and going out their way to protect your interest, that’s the definition of a “good teammate”. That’s the type of people you want to keep around you. Yet, this potential client was more interested in rushing, then being frustrated when confronted with the reality that excellence requires time. Rushing is what got them in this pickle in the 1st place.
  3. Notice I didn’t bother trying to convince them of my value. Why should I? They’ve bulldozed through multiple contractors and lost lots of money along the way. When the first person (to my knowledge) offered value before asking for money showed up, they opted out. If someone can’t see your value, don’t waste your time trying to convince them. Cut your losses and move one. Your health and sanity deserve better.

I hope you enjoyed my take on an overzealous client. There are other types of potential clients to be wary of (to be sure), but that’s another story for another day. Until next time, have a great one guys!! God Bless.