Have you ever had to ‘fire’ a client? You know the ones… they are demanding, demeaning, they don’t value you or your time, nor are they very pleasant to work with.
Well… I had a situation like that, recently. My very first one as a matter of fact! I suspected early on in the process it was a mis-match, so I kept my eyes open and picked up on several clues in our early meetings.
Clue # 1. They had ordered fabric swatches from one of the online, DIY websites and showed them to me. (Hmm. Ok not unusual)
Clue #2: The husband kept talking about “all the other work” that needed to be done in the house. The kitchen, the living room, the furniture, the window seat cushions, etc. Because he obviously went on and on about it, several times, it began to feel like he was holding up a so-called ‘carrot’ or promise of more work (and therefore wanted special treatment).
Clue #3: There was a window treatment in another room that looked gorgeous! It was a simple, white linen fabric shade. They kept trying to compare the price of that simple shade, with the one they wanted from me – which was a completely different style, fabric, size, etc. (Why didn’t they stay with the previous company that did that shade a mere 6 months before? Hmm.)
Clue #4: After we finalized several fabrics they liked for their window treatments and upholstery, they took down the names of the fabric. Well, you know what happened next… when we met to talk about pricing, the husband showed me that he found the Ralph Lauren fabric ($439/yd Retail) online – at my wholesale price. Then he said they’d be “willing” to buy it from me, if I matched the online store’s price. (Wow) If things weren’t already on their way down hill, that was the clincher for me. I do not work on projects when the client provides the fabric. Do you?
Other clues: I won’t tell you about how the wife was 30 minutes late to our last appointment. (Seriously?) Or how uncomfortable it was, as I waited for her to show up, since the husband insisted about 20 times, that I brought the wrong fabric… until the wife finally strolled in, without much apology, and said “Oh no, that’s the right one”. (Of course it was)
More clues: Did the previous company fire them as well? (More than likely).
They’ve since called and emailed repeatedly saying how much they want to get started and move forward (with 1/2 the job btw). However, they lost the privilege of working with me and becoming a client. I choose not to devote another minute of my time, expertise, talent and skill to this pair.
Do you remember the movie “Ghostbusters”? When I left their house for the last time, I felt as if I had been slimed! Too bad for them… they missed out. I’ve since walked away, shook the dust off my feet and moved on.
How long has it taken you to discover a ‘predator prospect’? Looking back were the signs there but you missed them early on?