I think we can all agree, dealing with askholes in business is never fun.
It never ends well. So what do you do when you end up in a client relationship one?
Well, first off, let’s address exactly what an askhole is.
What is a business ‘askhole’?
A business askhole is a client that comes to you for advice, because you’re the expert but then when you share your expert advice, they simply ignore it.
It doesn’t end there though. It gets worse…
They don’t just ignore your advice, they tend to do the complete opposite.
After not getting results, they come back and guess what? The keep asking for it… and the cycle continues over and over and over and over again…
Then complain that you’re not achieving their desired outcome EVEN THOUGH they failed to implement any of the action steps or advice given.
Hence the name, askholes ;)
As business owners, you always have to be on the lookout for ask holes at all time.
They’re a sneaky bunch…they creep up on you often in disguise as your ideal clients just looking for the solution you provide to a problem they have.
You never want to enter a relationship with an askhole because once there in your bed, it’s hard to get them out again and as I said before, it never ends well.
Rule number one is always have a strict no askhole policy!
However, if you do happen to find an askhole that’s managed to sneak passed your velvet rope, this is how you deal with them.
How To Deal With Business Askholes
Step One: The Polite Strike #1
The next time your client comes to you looking for advice, repeat your original message. Explain the action steps you would like them took take and let them know how these steps will help achieve this desired outcome. Once you’ve done this, politely remind them that this is your expert opinion that they seeked out and if these steps aren’t followed through on, that desired result will not be achieved.
You may have this conversation in person or on a phone call. If that’s the case, I would also recommend following up with an email. This way, there is no doubt that this is the information that you have provided the client and it makes it extremely difficult for them to argue otherwise.
Step Two: The Neutral Strike #2
If the client continues to discard the information/ advice you have given them but continues to ask or complain about the issue, you want to remain polite, neutral and firm in your response.
You can refer to the previous conversation, ask the client if they have followed through on these steps and when they respond with a no or an excuse, confirm this is why they still have this issue.
Let them know that this is the best advice you can provide and without them following through on these steps, there is nothing else you can do to help them achieve this result.
Be careful in your wording here. You’re not taking on responsibility by explaining that you can’t do anymore, you’re letting them know that you have brought your value to the table and it’s now up to them to put it to good use.
Step Three: The ‘You’re Fired’ Strike #3
If you are still in this relationship by strike three, congratulations, you have some incredible patience. On a serious note, at this point, there’s nothing left that you can do except walk away. In fact, the best thing you can do is to fire this client and let them know why you can no longer work with them. Again, always be polite.
I know this can be scary. The thought of losing that client and even that financial income can make you a little nauseous but the reality is that client is going to cost you far more than you’ll ever earn. You’re going to be stuck in a vicious cycle that drains your energy and stops you from carrying out your best work.
When that happens, it’s not just your mental well being that suffers but all your other clients will feel the impact too because how you can you bring your best self to the table when you have an energy leech attached to you.
This really is the best thing you can do for both you and your client.
Often there is a psychological element at play here whereby they are really seeking out sympathy or are creating their own mental blocks. Either way, this isn’t something you have to take on as a business. It might sound harsh but you have to stay focused on your own success path. There is nothing you can do to help someone who is unwilling to help themselves.
Firing them breaks the cycle and sometimes brings this issue to light for them.
Simply wish them all the best for the future and thank them for their custom up until this point.
And that’s how you deal with a business askhole.