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Dump the junk: Saying no to bad clients

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The PITA Customer

You can see the warning signs a mile away: They push you on price, threaten to take their business to your competitors, make unreasonable demands, masquerade as the decision-maker, don’t return phone calls; yet expect fast, complete and reliable delivery of your service.

You know who they are: The “pain in the ass” (PITA) customers. Do you have a PITA client-or perhaps more than one?

PITA customers are never happy. They drain your energy, test your patience, and waste your time. They demoralize your entire sales team. Yet companies accept this bad business continually, thinking bad business must be better than no business. But is it?

Dump Hidden Costs

When organizations take on these bad customers, they pay a hidden cost-the lost opportunity to use those resources going after and servicing the phenomenal clients they want and need to make money! Collect too many PITA customers and watch your profits dwindle… not a compelling scenario.

Why accept business from a few customers who drive us crazy and drain our resources? Many salespeople say they sell to “anyone who fogs a mirror”-because of a looming quota, or because their company insists on certain deals. Many sales organizations create unrealistic expectations that they can turn a bad situation into a good one. Are you dreaming? Bad business is bad business. Period.

Dump the Junk

Targeting just anyone often means attracting more PITA customers. Never ask a PITA to refer you. Why? Because PITAs hang out with other PITAs. They belong to the same organizations, play golf together, and love telling stories about how they negotiated an unprecedented deal, or whipped a salesperson into shape. Your best sales decision: Fire the PITA. Don’t take them in the first place, and if you have one, recognize you have a PITA situation and fight back.

Yes, fight back-push back-whatever you call it. Don’t take their abuse. You deliver a service that boosts their business. If they push you on price, be willing to walk away. That really turns the tables.

To demonstrate this point, picture two people standing up with their arms out straight, pushing on and resisting each other’s hands. No one gets anyplace. It’s a stalemate. Now re-create the same picture: One person stops resisting. What happens? The other person moves toward the one who ceased resisting. The same thing happens when you’re willing to walk away. Sometimes you’ll walk, but many times the PITA comes to you.

Clean House

So Fire the PITA! We know them 90 percent of the time before we even begin to work with them. Say NO. It’s OK to walk away.

When you walk away, you have time to attract exactly the kind of clients you want, and watch your sales soar!