When You Feel Like Killing a Client by Robin J Elliott

We’ve all had that feeling of dread and discomfort when a certain customer darkens one’s proverbial door, haven’t we? I remember the last consulting client that I fired. I swore I would never consult again, and my level of peace and motivation has climbed steeply ever since. In fact, when I got home, Rika said, “You look radiant! Did you fire another one of your clients?” He showed up in the restaurant in the customary sunglasses – big clue there! – And I recognized that feeling that urged me to seek out a nice Benelli M3 shotgun and put him out of his misery. It would save a whole lot of people a whole lot of hurt. He is one of those “Big fish in a very small pond” who believes his own publicist – not that he can even spell the word. I think you get my drift.

I was having lunch with a Member recently in Beverly’s on Main at Wasaga Beach in Ontario and she told me how she used to fire customers in her hair salons years ago. She said that the whole atmosphere in the salon would lighten and improve when a “difficult” client was let go. In the DollarMakers Joint Venture Forum, I have refused Membership, fired Members and refused to renew others when we find that we have hooked a rotten fish. As business owners, we simply cannot afford to accommodate rotten apples and we have a responsibility to our other Members, employees, customers and associates, not to allow Customer Contamination.

The good news is that, sooner or later, people will reveal who they really are. They start off with a good impression (unless you’re really tuned into your intuition or you’re married to my smart wife) and from then on it’s a slippery slope, because they cannot consistently act in a way that is not congruent with their real values. The problem is, they can hurt some of your staff and customers along the way. The same goes for employees – they can do a lot of damage before you wise up and fire them. How can we apply damage control early?

My Scuba diving instructor used to say, “Equalize early and often.” Let’s apply this to a system for keeping our businesses clean and free from the wrong people. First, do a lot of due diligence and checks. Do your homework. Ask the competition, employees, vendors, and customers of the person applying to get involved in your life. Second, make sure you have created a way to get rid of people legally, quickly and easy. (Not with the shotgun.) Third, constantly monitor behavior and look for red flags. The red flags that I look for are showing up late, canceling appointments, not keeping their words, addictions like nicotine, alcohol, pot, sex, food or ego and personal presentation. (They can be immaculately groomed but if they stink of tobacco, they might as well leave right now.) Be aware.

How does an organ grinder discipline his monkey? True story: if he beats the monkey, the monkey will lose all creativity, fun, and initiative and withdraw. So on a regular basis, he kills a chicken in front of the monkey. Just to remind the monkey to behave. When you keep your operation clean and consistently remove the sociopaths and losers from your life, you will find the quality of people that you attract improving all the time. Be very loyal to the sheep and merciless with the wolves. It works for me. By the way, the Benelli M3 can be used in both Pump-Action and Semi-Automatic modes.

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