Whether you run your own promo company or not, you know that clients are the lifeline of your business. You probably enjoy working with most of your clients, but you may have a few that stress you out. 

Almost everyone encounters these types of people in their career, according to Naphtali Hoff, Psy.D., the president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting.

Wondering if any of your clients might be toxic? Read on. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we explain some of the most common behaviors of toxic clients, according to Hoff.

They use abusive language and behavior. The toxic client may be in-your-face confrontational, or their actions may be passive-aggressive. Either way, when clients act like this, they create a hostile environment for you and your staff. Don’t tolerate offensive or hostile language or behavior.

They’re never satisfied. Some clients simply don’t know what they want. No matter how much effort you put into their promo project, they’re not happy. Clients who complain about minor issues and refuse to acknowledge your attempts to rectify the situation are toxic. 

They manipulate. Watch for clients who use tactics like guilt-tripping and manipulation to get what they want – even if it extends beyond the standard terms of the business relationship.

They’ll trash you publicly. Toxic clients don’t just take their dissatisfaction to social media – Hoff says they exaggerate the situation in a way that can harm your company’s reputation.

They don’t understand boundaries. Clients may overstep boundaries in all kinds of ways, from expecting an immediate response to emails to using inappropriate language with your team. Take steps to put those boundaries in place if you work with clients who display unwanted behavior. Hoff says this might include asking inappropriate personal questions or invading your personal space.

They’re incessant micromanagers. Your clients should trust you when it comes to all things promo. Those who need to oversee every aspect of the project or process can hinder productivity and creativity, Hoff says.

They ignore your policies and terms. If a client gets confrontational when asked to adhere to your company’s terms of service or contractual agreements, Hoff says they’re displaying toxic behavior.

They have unrealistic expectations. Customers who expect immediate responses, 24/7 availability or unrealistic results can put undue pressure on your team and cause burnout, Hoff says.

Toxic clients can be draining to you and your entire team. Learn to spot the signs of toxic clients and when it’s best to cut ties. You’ll be happier and more productive in the long run, and you’ll be better prepared to welcome new clients who value your promo expertise.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Naphtali Hoff, Psy.D., is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting