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Highlights from this episode include:

  • What the filthy home of a hoarder can teach you about business (2:07)
  • The main criteria you should use to evaluate a client before you hustle for their business (5:30)
  • The surprising reason that you continue to get “Red Flag” clients and how to fix it today (5:53)
  • A vital skill you can develop to end the terror of signing nightmare clients (6:57)
  • What the thought of your death teaches you about pricing your services (10:28)
  • A foolproof way to determine pricing for your services when you’re business is brand new (12:56)
Read Full Transcript

There's two types of people who hear consensual sales in the first go, Oh, Eww, Shawna, that is not what you want to say. There are better words to use and the second type here, consensual sales and say, you know what? You're right. I don't want to talk my way into the sale. I don't want to memorize a script. You just want to work with clients who are excited to work with you. Now that's consensual sales.

Okay. So I have to tell you the story. I used to be a cleaning lady, right? And I was just picking up jobs for like a little bit of money on the side while I worked full time. And I never knew like what the situation in the house we were walking into. Oh my gosh. I never knew the situation that we were walking into. And later after years of a practice of doing this, I knew how to ask the right questions to know like, are you a hoarder?

(00:56): Do you have animal crap everywhere? Like, is this a construction zone? And yeah. So that meant that there were in the beginning of this, of taking clients in my cleaning company, I would take the person on the phone and I would quote their house. I would show up at their house and it would be a construction zone, like a total remodel of their house where they're pulling up floorboards, they're redoing their bathroom. There's dust everywhere. Like sod does like an inch thick. It was horrible. And I would show up with like a bucket and a vacuum, sorry that he doesn't like four washcloths. And so one thing that I've learned about when you have like nightmare clients situations, and this just kind of comes with experience, but it's like, you start to learn how to ask the right questions. So you're, you can start to like weed out, like who's a good fit for your service.

(01:55): And not, there were times where, Oh, this is another thing. So there was one client where we would go in and any time we would come at the door, the dog would come to the door and it would be all hyper. And it would crap its pants. It would grab his pants right by the door. And the owner was like super sweet about it. Like they wouldn't make a big deal about it. They'd just be like, Oh, you know, the dog just gets excited, grabbed, like we have to wipe it's bud. So nasty. And so I'd love. Have you had any experience like that too? I mean, the ones pooping on the floor is usually my one year old, but I don't think I can work face to face with people. I have had nightmare clients for sure. And I think it's inevitable when you first start out in business, you kind of take

(03:00): Whoever comes to you. Yeah.

(03:01): Yep. That's how it was. It's just like, awesome. I got a job. Like I'm on my way. Yeah. And you have to figure out, you'll figure out the red flag

(03:10): And you'll figure out how to avoid those types of clients. But it can be rough in the beginning. Like your first year of business, it seems like those are all the clients who are getting I've definitely had some where I was doing design work for them, but they asked me to do all the design work and Microsoft word. How is that even possible? It's not, it's terrible. This is what they have. That they were like, they were like a ministry. So they were like a nonprofit, but it was so bad. I was like, I did the first project for them in Adobe, in design, which is what you're supposed to use for layout design. They're like, well, we want to be able to edit this. So can you just like do the next project? So Microsoft word and like PowerPoint. And if you're not a designer, that's like, that's a huge, no, no like you can't, there's no design capabilities in those programs. They're not made to design in. And I hated the work and they were really late to pay and they would not pay me how I wanted to be paid. Like I would ask them to pay me through PayPal. That's where I'd invoice them. And they would mail checks to me, like snail mail

(04:29): And put a stamp on it.

(04:32): And, but it was like, I guess they like put me on their payroll. And so I would have to wait, like, even if the project was done, I would get paid like a month later. Like it was bad. And the more I said yes to them, the more work they gave me that I hated. And I ended up, I guess, quitting essentially, but like just telling them I wasn't taking that work anymore. It was so scary to do that when like, you're, you know, you're first starting out and that seems like your only clients and like, how are you going to get more work? And it was so freeing. Like I never went back to doing that kind of work again.

(05:10): It sounds like, kind of like what we had just said in the last episode, which is if you're going to hustle your way to clients and make sure their clients who are actually going to like be a stepping stone to what you want, not somebody who's going to pull you backwards. Yeah. Because I mean,

(05:23): Share my info with people who wanted the same type of work. And so then I ended up with like three of these clients and it was just like all the work I was getting, but it was like, I was doing it to myself by saying, yes,

(05:35): I think there's another great episode about red flag clients, the one with Becky. And she talks about how you've got red flag clients, right. That you don't want to work with. But I almost feel like the red flag clients come from your inability to say no.

(05:50): Oh yeah, absolutely. I almost feel like you have to learn it the hard way. At least I did. There was a client that I had once who,

(05:58): I mean, similar to the construction zone, but it was like somebody who left the apartment in a dump, like in a trash, like in a trash saw. Right. So the basement had flooded and here's just like me and like two little ladies showing up to clean the apartment and you need like a hazmat suit. Like the whole basement was flooded and they had food in the refrigerator that had been there for like all summer, you know, it's horrifying. And again, this is sort of like, you kind of get, I don't know, like you get like stars in your eyes. Like you start your business. You're so excited for your first job. You just want to climb to prove yourself. But it's like your ability to ask and ask questions. Like your ability to ask questions is going to help you navigate your ability to ask questions is going to help you is going to protect you and the value that you can bring without sabotaging yourself.

(06:51): Right? So it's like when you can ask and navigate the right questions to make sure that they're a good fit, like just as much as they want to know, you're a fit for them. You have to be a good fit for this person. And if you're not asking questions, you're not able to give the full value. You're not able to really take care of those clients. And if you can't do that, like you have an ethical responsibility to say, nah, you know what, like blame yourself. If you need to say, you know what, I totally understand what you're saying, but this is all on me. I'm not really going to be able to be the one to deliver on what you need. So you can take some of that. Self-Blame but like, sort of, it's not you it's me. So what I'm trying to say, but yeah, if you want to give value and you want to, you know, give them a really great experience, it's not going to come from just taking whatever job comes your way. You really have to do a sort of qualifying disqualifying process.

(07:40): Then if you're like one of those people who really hate letting people down like me, I'm like a people pleaser. Yeah, I will. So like, I've gotten to a point where I'll say no, like that I'm not the right fit for you, but I have a list full of people that I know can do that work. And so you're like giving them names. You're not just like letting them figure it out on their own. And then I'm also helping my friends who like that kind of work and have the time for it. What other nightmare client stories do I have? Oh, I have one. Yeah. Okay. You told me. So I was trying to build my brand portfolio up, like right after college, before I really started my business, I had this crazy offer of like, I was going to build a brand. So a logo, colors, font.

(08:32): I think I was doing patterns for, are you ready? Yeah. $80. Like the stupidest thing I've ever done, because if you know anything about brand design, I was probably getting paid pennies an hour. I mean, it worked though. I got my portfolio up and running, but the people that are looking for cheap labor, most of the time, her nightmare clients. And so I had this one lady who I delivered everything for her and like, she just was not happy. And like, she wasn't just not happy. She was like wanting a refund. She was like demanding more concepts. And like saying, you didn't listen to me when, like we had several phone calls and I did exactly what she asked for. But I think I ended up just like saying I can't do more work, but like here's our 80 bucks back or whatever. And I didn't really care.

(09:26): I just didn't want to deal with her anymore. But I think there's a fine line between like getting your foot in the door as in just like being completely like disrespectful to yourself, which is like what I was doing. But I got my portfolio, but anyway, she was just a nightmare client. And that's the thing is like, I can't even use that work that I was actually really proud of in my portfolio because I don't, I don't know. I don't want to be like dishonest and show this client work when she like, actually hated it. There is shoot, there was something that I was going to say, Oh, people make fun of me for asking them like, okay, whatever you're going to charge. Like, does it make you want to die? You feel like you're going to die for charging this amount. And they're like, they laugh at me, but I'm like, no, I'm serious.

(10:12): Like, because you have to charge more. If $80 is going to make you feel like you're going to die, you know what I mean? Like you just can't do it. And you're just like, not even worth it for pennies on the dollar. Like it's not a fair exchange. And that's the consensual sales framework, which is like, it has to be, win-win like, you don't have to lose while your clients win. Like that's crazy. Yeah. It's not just, you lose, like your family loses, right? Like you get stressed out, you get resentful, you get crabby. Like you get stressed out and then it just like, they get the brunt of all of that. And it's, that's not fun for anybody. Yeah. I definitely learned the hard way. So what's one thing that you do now to like eliminate nightmare clients. So our nightmare situations, it doesn't nice to be.

(10:52): Yeah. I don't target Davy dollars anymore. Sorry. If you are dying to get that deal, but we're excited about that, but I have a phone call with them and I have them look at my work because designers, everyone has a style. And if you haven't looked at my work, you don't know if you're going to like my style. I feel like a designer is just like a very personal decision. So they have to look at my work. I have a phone call with them and I kind of ask where they are in business and then like who their ideal clients are, because I want to make sure that I have an understanding of who I'm going to be designing for. Cause I'm not just designing for them. I'm designing for who they're trying to attract. So I want to make sure that I somewhat understand their industry.

(11:43): I also feel like there's something to be said about if you're navigating the line between, okay, is this somebody that I have sold through to get my next client? Or is this somebody that's like really gonna pull me backwards is setting the terms. So you're like, okay, I'm going to do it by having it. You said the terms by having an honest conversation, like up to this point, okay. So I'm going to do this up to this point and then we need to renegotiate or we need to reevaluate. So you can always like get out of an awkward situation without feeling like you're tied down to this client like indefinitely, right? Yeah. That's really smart. So you can't be afraid to just say, you know what, like the deal that we made, like we're going to have to renegotiate or again, or up to this point, we're going to have to renegotiate.

(12:27): So that's always been like a little bit of a saving grace for me. Yeah. And that's something that my VA actually did for me. That's smart. I just hired out some stuff this year and she I'm actually her first client. And she told me that from the very beginning. And she was like, so I don't really have packages yet. So let's work hourly the next few months. And then you can see how much words are meetings. I can kind of see how to package my services and then we can evaluate. And so we're kind of in the process now and it feels like a package is kind of like a win, win. Like I know what I'm getting and she knows how much work she's going to be spending. Awesome nightmare clients want to do about them. Those of you who are listening to this episode, make sure that if you struggled to book, happy to pay clients, that you check out our no-cost class@clientsandmoney.com and walks you through the 3.5 part process on how to book, happy to pay clients and make more money without seeming desperate. You can pick a time at your own convenience and you're going to love it. It's a great class. Alright. Thanks. Goodbye.

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