Are Your Clients Bullying You?


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

As I sat at the shampoo bowl last night at the salon, listening to my hair stylist / fellow small business owner nearly break down in tears describing how a client had treated her, it occurred to me how many of us let our clients bully us. My stylist has a full calendar. She is booked for weeks in advance. Yet she continues to try and please the one particular client who is unpleaseable. Comments like, “Don’t think the haircut was perfect last time” and “You’ve never gotten the color right” are par for the course. Like many small business owners, my stylist is a perfectionist. She wants her clients to not just be satisfied, but delighted with her service. Yet sometimes we need to walk away from certain clients who we’ll never be able to make happy.

Let me put it into perspective for you. Clients like this take more time and energy than they are worth. They sidetrack you from giving the love to good clients who deserve it. They bring you down. They weigh on you when your next client comes in because you just can’t shake the bad experience. They weigh on you when you get home and are trying to enjoy family time.

Here are a few tips to know when it’s time to say goodbye

1) You bend over backwards yet they are never, ever completely satisfied

2) Even when they compliment you, it’s with a caveat so it’s not really a compliment

3) When you see that they are coming in, your stomach drops

4) When the client leaves, you feel bad about your abilities and your confidence is shaken

5) You carry this client’s dissatisfaction home with you and it impacts your day-to-day relationships

6) You can’t be yourself with other clients you see after the crabby client as you can’t get their dissatisfaction out of your mind

I challenge you to divorce those unhappy clients today! Simply say, unfortunately I’m afraid I’m all booked up. Or, I noticed that we don’t seem to be grooving and I want you to love your hair, images, procedure, etc. I’m afraid I an unable to do that for you, so it would probably be best for you to find someone who can.

Have you ever divorced a client? Were you glad you did? Share your story here!

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