Do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel on cheap customers and bad clients?
Have you gotten the wrong message about how to properly build your art business? Do you think you need to ‘Prove to your customer that you’re willing to work harder, drive more miles, and bend over further than everyone else to earn his business.’
If you’re an artist, selling art online or anywhere, then listen up. Having this attitude BEFORE the sale is often counterproductive.
And some of us kill ourselves trying to do this AFTER the sale, which is fine. Except… some customers simply *are not worth the effort.*
When an Artist Should Fire Her Clients
What are the ‘bottom 10%’ of your customers like?
–They beat you up on prices
–Then they pay late
–Also, They expect special treatment
–No respect for your boundaries.
Well today I’m giving you permission to FIRE them. Get them off your back, once and for all.
I fired a customer myself, just the other day.
He’d met me through my inner-circle of friends and ask me if I would consult with him about his art business. When I told him my hourly rate, he said it couldn’t afford it. And he asked me if I would lower my rate for him since I was a friend of one of his close friends.
I told him that I wouldn’t lower my rate but I would work with him in smaller increments of time and he could pay me for 3 shorter sessions. He agreed to that.
My time is very valuable, I have clients who eagerly pay my normal rate in order just to get access to me. Sorry, I can’t just take random phone calls from people who just want to yak about their problems.
(And I *truly* enjoy working with an eager student. It’s one of the most satisfying things about what I do!)
Anyway, things started out OK with this particular person — but somehow he got the idea that the parameters didn’t apply to him.
He sent me documents to review which went beyond the scope of our agreement. Then He would call me on the phone and inundate me with emails. Also, He had a split payment arrangement, and he started fudging on the amounts.
He was consuming ENORMOUS amounts of my time, he didn’t follow through on my instructions, and he constantly complained about everything.
I terminated my association with him and refunded his money.
Most customers will be shocked when you fire them. He sure was!
But you’ll be amazed at the liberating feeling and the renewed self-respect you have when you establish rules and stick to them. And when your other customers find out that you have enough self respect to give problem customers the boot, they’ll respect you more, too.
Former CEO of GE Jack Welch had a policy of getting rid of the bottom 10% of employees every year.
Controversial? Absolutely. Did some really good employees fall victim to ‘corporate politics’? No doubt that happened, too.
But was it effective? Yes, it was.
It sounds harsh, and certainly it’s an unpleasant policy for everyone involved, at least at the moment. But think about it — don’t you figure the poorest performing 10% of people in a company probably belong somewhere else anyway?
And… don’t you figure your competitors need your worst customers more than you do? That IS an excellent strategy, by the way. Distract your competitors from good customers by sending ’em bad ones.
So go ahead — Make my day. Get rid of the bottom 5-10% of your customers every year.
Make a list of people who drain your resources and damage your morale, and get rid of them.