Over the next couple of weeks I want to go over various bad habits that clients may have. Now I want to say again that the majority of clients are alright, but when you come across that nightmarish one, you’ll need sound advice on how to deal with them. The first kind of client I want to address is the indecisive client.
Why it’s a problem
An indecisive client may take up an awful lot of your time asking deciding which is the right course of action, asking for revisions and worse of all letting you do all the actual work and then completely changing their mind.
As time goes on and you become more accomplished working for yourself, you should develop your own spider-senses as to when a client might be troublesome. The first indication of an indecisive client should come at the pitching stage. Look at for vague, open briefs. Look for long decision times during the pitch. Are you having to spend a lot of time convincing the client that they need the service in the first place?
Cut it Out Early
You may remember in an earlier article I talked on whether or not we should persuade a client. I was talking about situations where a client isn’t 100% on board and you have to push them in order to get the sale. I advised that this was a bad idea, because at the first sign something wasn’t going 100% well, you would automatically run into trouble with that client. The same is very much true here. If you get a whiff that a client isn’t 100% sure what they want, if they appear to be indecisive. Advise them, give them ideas, but don’t push them too hard.
With any client situation it’s important to step back and consider what is motivating them. You have to appreciate the fact that you’re only seeing this client in a very limited window in most cases and don’t get to see the full picture of what’s going on. With an indecisive client it often comes back to a lack of confidence, and quite often this lack of confidence is in themselves and their plans and not you.
The remedy with a client like this is tight frameworks. Limit the options the client has and the time they have to make them. Create a very clear outline of what needs to happen and when. If the problem persists, then you’ll simply have to have a word with the client, and if it still persists then you simply have to start adding onto your fee for every new change of direction. Four crucial words: Get Everything in writing.