Client Bullying

March 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, sales | 1 Comment

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the problem of bullying and, of course, most of the focus has been on children and teenagers.

We’ve heard the stories and experience outrage and bewilderment as to how and why this situation keeps occurring, and seemingly with more and more frequency. Parents and non-parents alike can feel the pain of the families going through this highly stressful experience.

But I’m going to address a different type of bullying. I don’t mean to compare them at all or imply that they are equal in the amount of pain and suffering that results from the bullying actions.

The bullying that I am referring to lies at the hands of “clients”.

Yes, client bullying.

It seems that this situation is also a bit more prevalent these days. The recession has caused pain, and clients are looking for ways to decrease their expenses and get the same services or products for less money.

They’re looking (or threatening to look) for the low cost provider, even when the client-service provider relationship has been good and the deliverables stellar.

And yes, they are asking, no demanding, that payment terms be extended.

This type of bullying wreaks havoc on small businesses, heck, most businesses who are trying to stay afloat themselves.

But when the client’s back is to the wall, they become the schoolyard bully and no amount of intervention really helps.

So, do you put up with it and potentially wind up losing money on the work that you execute? Or do you attempt to negotiate and find a middle ground AND if that doesn’t work, do you take your ball and exit the schoolyard leaving the bullies to find someone else to pick on.

Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do.

(Note: during the last 18-24 mos I have known many businesses knuckle under to the demands of the client bully. They are not happy BUT they have retained the business and some amount of positive cash flow.)


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