Teddy is a tailgate negotiator. You agree on terms up-front, sign necessary documents, and begin the project. But then... Teddy decides to renege, ask for items not agreed upon, insist on endless revisions, etc. Ned is needy. He wants to micromanage you and he has 50,000 questions to ask before he can hire you for the project. Ugh.
✔️ You always have to consider the cost. When you are looking at the money, don't focus on the gross. Focus on the net. When all the expenses and taxes are deducted, how much will you actually net from this? Sometimes looking at the true bottom line is enough for you to decide that a Teddy or a Ned is not worth it.
✔️ Your business needs to function well for YOU. The customer is not always right and you should not put them up on a pedestal.
✔️ The Buddhist idea of a middle path is useful here. A good client usually has sensible questions and doesn't rush through the process of hiring you yet also does not drag it out or ask an excessive number of anxiety-laced questions.
✔️ You have to weed out clients who expect that, because you are a freelancer, solopreneur, or small business owner, you will be at their mercy. They hold all the cards and you hold none. Nope. Huh-uh. Inaccurate.
Link to the article I discuss in this episode: https://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/7-types-of-clients-who-will-take-your-patience-to-the-brink.html
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Welcome to the Causey Consulting podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Today I want to talk about two types of clients that are actually two sides of the same coin, the outcome more or less for you will be the same, which is a giant freaking headache. The first type is Teddy, the tailgate negotiator. Teddy is the type who appears to ask all of his questions at the beginning, everything is settled, a scope of work has been signed fee agreement has been signed, everything's been laid out with clarity, there's no question marks lingering in the background, everyone involved has a clear sense of how things are going to go and what the deliverable is going to look like. But at some point, Teddy will decide that he doesn't actually want to follow whatever rules of engagement were set out. And he's not really going to own up to whatever agreement it is he signed. So in third party staffing, for example, this could manifest as I know that we signed a fee agreement with you at 28%. We really like john doe, I mean, he is the candidate for us, there's no doubt about it, we just have fallen in love with him wet, we're having some heartburn about the fee agreement, we just looked at the budget. And I know we signed it at 28. But we just can't do it, we're not going to be able to hire john and pay 28% to you for his salary. So is there any way that you could go ahead and just come down to 20? I mean, then all the other fee agreements that we have with other agencies in town are for 20. Anyway, we know we've got that in the budget, and we really want to hire john. But we're not going to be able to unless you come down on that fee agreement. So I mean, don't you want john doe to have this job? Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard spot? I mean, they're essentially what they're doing in that situation is they're portraying you as the villain. Don't you want and guilt tripping? You? Don't you want john to have this, I mean, we'll have to walk away from our dream candidate, if you don't agree to take a pay cut to come on. To me that is really dirty pool. If you have signed an agreement at a particular percentage for a certain amount of commission money, then you don't wait until you can put the recruiter in a terrible situation, place a guilt trip on them. And then essentially say, Yeah, I know I agreed to do this. But no, nevermind. In a creative field, it can also manifest as someone who wants to negotiate for additional revisions. So perhaps you've said, Hey, I'm going to put together this written proposal for you, you get one revision, but then Teddy, the tailgate negotiator decides No, I'm not gonna pay the bill, I'm gonna withhold my money, I'm gonna withhold approving the project through a platform like Fiverr, for example, until you give me unlimited revisions. Now, I know that I agreed to one that's just not gonna cut it. In project based work, it could be okay, I know that at the beginning, the scope of work involved five clear cut KPIs that we were going to utilize. But now that everything's in place, we really want ten, now we're not going to pay you any extra money for doubling your workload, we just expect you to go ahead and saddle up and do this, even though it's reneging on what we actually agreed on at the beginning. I can't emphasize to you enough. If you have an experience with Teddy, the tailgate negotiator, that is somebody to cross off the list, if you have to sort of Buck up and deal with whatever's going on just to get through the project. I get it. I think anybody that does freelancing, or anybody that's ever worked on a commission only basis has had to deal with somebody like Teddy. And, again, sometimes we have to just Buck up and get through the process because some folks are just hyper litigious. There's all the time looking for a reason to go call a lawyer and cry about how bad they've had it. But I think most people are like, I just want to get through this. I want to go ahead and survive this experience and then never work with Teddy again. If you get any signs or signals from that person during the intake process that tells you they're going to tailgate negotiate, they're going to try to manipulate they're almost too agreeable on certain things. You just want to have your antenna up. Dealing with somebody like Teddy is a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth about 10 pounds of cure, it's better to not allow Somebody like that into your practice in the first place than it is to have to try to deal with them and satisfy them and have the big headache. You know, another way that this can manifest in contract or project based work is the person may say, Alright, I'm gonna set out the scope of work, I want you to work for 20 hours this week, and let's see how it goes. But then you make it to about the 10 hour mark. So you're halfway through and then the person says, haha, JK, just kidding. I don't really need this anymore. In my mind, that's also dirty pool because that Freelancer that business owner was counting on that 20 hours to be able to calculate accurate cash flow for that week. They may have also turned down other assignments in order to hold that amount of time open for you. So while you're taking it as a joke, and you think it's it's no big deal to cut them off at the knees, I think it's dirty pool. And I would also categorize that type of person as being Teddy, the tailgate negotiator. Oh, hey, hey there, old buddy, old pal. I know, we said we were gonna do it this way, but not really not cool. Now the other side of this undesirable coin, I will call Ned the needy. You may remember in some previous episodes, I talked about a manager who wants described certain candidates or certain clients as being high thought need, they're going to need to have hundreds of 1000s of questions answered before they can do something. They can't process things and really move ahead until they feel like every even hint or inkling of an idea has been answered to their satisfaction, the the concepts of things like spontaneity, it just doesn't exist for people like that. And I would look at him and say, I think we could just be a little bit more blunt, what you're calling a high thought knee person might just be someone who's anal retentive. And I stand by that, I am definitely not going to go down the rabbit hole of Freudian psychoanalysis we would be or for years if we wanted to do that. But one definition of anal retentiveness is a person who pays such attention to detail that it becomes an obsession and maybe an annoyance to others. Another definition is a person who is excessively orderly and fussy. I would put a lot of micromanagers into this category. Some of them are micromanaging, because they have OCD or some some anxiety, they're scared that if they don't micromanage, all the wheels are gonna go flying off the wagon, and it's going to be a disaster, and then they're going to have to answer for it, and they're going to have to clean up the mess. So they think that by micromanaging you, and attempting to control every single thing that you do, and monitor every minute of every day that you spend on their project, maybe they can guide everything to a successful conclusion, and there won't be any problems. Other people are just all about control. You know, I also had a manager who said, some people care more about control than they do about money. And that is the God's honest truth, you will encounter some people in the business world who if given the choice between taking on something that's very lucrative and doing what's financially in their best interest, or in micromanaging somebody being very controlling and domineering, they would rather be controlling and domineering than make the money, they would rather have their boot on the back of your neck. If that's not the kind of person that you want to work with, then you want to be very careful about allowing somebody like Ned the needy to get into your practice. Unfortunately, with somebody like Teddy, the tailgate negotiator, we don't always know that we have somebody that's going to pull a stunt like that until it's too late. One good thing about Ned is that we can troubleshoot if that person is going to be overly needy and clingy and wants to be overly involved in everything at the front end. This is another reason why it is so important not to get happy ears when you're on a sales call. Don't filter in all the things that you like, and then selectively filter out signs of trouble. If you get the vibe, like oh, I think this person might be unreasonable. Or I think this person is going to want to know every moment of every day, they're going to want a status update on an hourly basis and I don't freakin have time for that. You pay attention to those things. I had an experience recently with someone who I believe have the all the potential to be Ned the needy. I'm going to be necessarily vague for obvious reasons. And I'll just call him Ned instead of having to use john doe. Just call him So I had received an email from Ned. And when I got on the phone to have an intake call with him, I always asked, Well, how did you find me? If it's not somebody where it's, you know, there's a clear pathway of how they got from wherever they were to me, I always asked, and that's something that I want to encourage you guys to do. It's great to know for marketing purposes, what's working well, and what isn't. And you can use the peredo principle there, what 20% of marketing activities are getting me the 80% of clients. So I like to know is this person coming in through a referral or what's going on? And people are generally very helpful in that regard. They, they're more than happy to tell you, I found you through a Google search, or I found you on LinkedIn, I listened to a couple episodes of your podcast and what you said really resonated with me and I knew you were the person I wanted to work with. People are usually pretty transparent about that kind of thing. For whatever reason, Ned was not I he just kind of gave me the runaround. And well, you know, I was just messing around online. And I'm like, Well, okay, that's not, that's not really a super clear answer. Like couldn't, couldn't seem to remember how he found me or didn't want to disclose it, which is odd. And then as we were going through the process of trying to define what it is that he needs done, and then what that would look like, what would the steps be to get from one place to another, and then line out the deliverable? in listening to his situation, it was very clear to me what needed to happen. And that's the reason why you hire me. That's the reason why you work with a subject matter expert. If you have a level of work that a beginner or somebody that's maybe midway through their career can do, that's cool. There's no reason to bring a cannon to a knife fight. But if you are at that point with a project or situation where you need to call in an expert, then it's important to get with that expert, and then leave them alone, let them do their job. Let them show you why. They have all of this expertise, and they're in high demand. But you don't micromanage them and ask 100,000 questions a day, that's going to be a turnoff to most people that have gotten to the SME level in their career. And so what was with nit, Ned was the type that Well, I've just have one more question. I just have one. And this went on and on and on. I lost count of how many one more questions that Ned had. And I thought I've got a headache. Like just sitting here on this intake call, I have a headache. I don't think that I could deal with this for for like an ongoing project, I think that I would jump off the roof. It reminded me of how Columbo would always be like, Oh, just one more thing right before he was about to reveal some detail to reveal to that person that he knew they were the murderer or the perpetrator or whatever. But this just kept going on. There was just one more question multiple, multiple times, and I knew like this, this is going to be Ned the needy. This is not something that I want to bring into my life. There is an article on inc.com, which I will link to in the write up for this podcast episode where they talk about seven types of clients who will take your patients to the brink. And I'm glad that they use the term patients because you have to think about when you're making these decisions. You have to think about the emotional cost. And how many episodes have I told you guys consider the costs, not just the financial costs, but the physical and emotional costs to what am I going to have to deal with if I saddle up and take a ride with this person? Am I going to have a migraine after every phone call? Am I going to be so frustrated, I feel my blood pressure going up after every email, you really need to think about those things. Now they draw out the needy one and the micromanager as two separate individuals. And I suppose in some cases they may be but I would caution you either way, whether we're talking about Ned, the needy or Michael the micromanager. I just have like oh, like I've got a knot in my stomach right now even even describing that because do not want. You don't want to invite people like that into your freelancing business or solopreneur desk they will wear you the hell out. Now I'm gonna read this excerpt from the one they call the needy, the needy one. The needy client is following up with you constantly from the time you begin working together till the time the project is done and sometimes thereafter. She demands an update every day, even if no progress has been made and causes your phone to ring off the hook. She wants to do a good job for her company and make sure the job is going well. So it's tough to be mad at her. I would interject that it's actually not but her constant following up and requests for more information are interfering with your ability to actually get the job done. That's also very important to remember, your ability to be effective. And to have the most impact, more bounce to the ounce in this project is going to depend on you being able to focus these interruptions of constant emails, text messages, phone calls, bullcrap, like asking you to get on Microsoft Teams or slack channels so they can ping you every five minutes. You may be more extroverted than I am, or you may be earlier in your career or in you're at a point where you feel like you have to put up with those things. But I would really caution you about it. I really and truly, would. You it's funny because the other day, I had somebody on LinkedIn who was harassing me trying to sell me some crap. I said, No, and he kept wanting to push me to get on a zoom call. And I said, Listen, fella, I deleted zoom for my practice months ago. And I have not looked back from it. It was like a 50 pound weight came off of my shoulders. The minute I got rid of it. I don't do video calls. And he was like, oh, wow, well, good luck with that. And then immediately disconnected. I thought, Oh, it was like the trash took itself out. Isn't that isn't that clever? Now, number four, they describe as the micromanager and I want to read from that section to the micromanager is sure he's better at your job than you are and he's questioning every strategy you make. Yeah. So if you're under contract for SEO Services, he's over analyzing each of your articles and all of your strategic link building choices. If you're designing his website, he's questioning the color of every link and button and is offering suggestions of his own. Critical eyes for detail are important. But nitpicking every single choice is counterproductive. Who raw? Because those two types of night nightmare clients are so closely related. I'm just going to give you some tips and tricks that can work for either the neat Ned the needy or Mike the micromanager. Number one, a number one most important, trust your gut. When I was talking to my Ned, when he gave me the runaround about not wanting to tell me how he found me? Oh, well, you know, there's just something in my stomach, like my stomach actually kind of hurt. Whenever he said that there was just something I don't know what. But something about it that just rang in authentic to me. And it was like my literal gut instinct was telling me you need to be careful here because something is off base. Trust your own gut instinct, you know, we have those instincts for a reason. And whether you believe it's your higher self, or the Holy Spirit, or something that has evolved over millennia, it's there for a reason. If your gut instinct is screaming at you, you need to be careful here, you would do well to heed that advice. The second tip is pay attention to what questions they ask, as well as how many questions they ask during the intake process. Sometimes on the other end of the spectrum with a teddy, the tailgate negotiator, they don't hardly ask any questions at all, they just want to zoom right through the process, because they already know that when the dust settles, they're gonna do whatever the hell they want. They may or may not pay you, they may ask for a discount, they may try to hold some other part of the project hostage until you agree to give them a certain percentage off. They're kind of run in their own angle. But a Ned the needy is going to get you on the phone and ask so many questions. And they're really, really focused on your process. It's almost like they want to sacrifice the end result in favor of getting into the minutiae about your process. Well, exactly what are your methods? How are you going to? How are you going to do this for me? How are you going to find this for me? I honestly sit on the phone as a Smee. And I think to myself, like does it matter? Does it ultimately matter to you if I'm able to produce an outstanding deliverable that's above and beyond what you even need? Does it really matter? What what tools that I utilized? Why do you care so much? Now, I would not say I'm not bold enough to say, you know, why do you care so much in the middle of an intake call, but there are tactful ways to get to that. Like, I'm interested to know why you're asking me this question. What's what's going on behind you can always kind of go into coach mode if you feel like it's worth it to do so. But, Ned, the needy will always bombard you with questions he will always have, and questions that are often frankly none of his business about how the process is going to go and what you're going to be doing behind the scenes. That's another reason why those people love To get you on to Microsoft Teams, or a Slack channel, they want to see how often your light is green. They want to monitor if you get up to get coffee, or if you go to the bathroom. And I'm guessing that if you went off into business for yourself, you decided to go online as a freelancer, you didn't want that kind of micromanagement, you probably got away from corporate America to have a break from people like that. So don't invite med, the needy or Mike the micromanager into your practice. The third tip I will give you is count the cost, not just physically and emotionally, but also financially. Sometimes we're looking at gross, we're thinking oh, here's, here's the amount of money that they're saying they will pay me, you need to look at the net. Especially if you're kind of on the fence about somebody you're like, Huh, I just don't know, I'm not getting a real warm and fuzzy here, you need to look at what you're actually going to walk away with. So if there's any transaction or processing fees, deduct that. If you're going through a third party or freelancing site, and they're going to take a chunk of your pay, deduct that, then figure out how much you're going to have to deduct in taxes. And once you've done all the necessary deductions, look at how much you can expect to net. If you work on that project for that person or that company. Sometimes that's all the incentive you need to know and understand. Hmm. Know, now that I've taken a look at how much I'll actually net from this. I just don't think it's worth it. So for example, if you're looking at a situation or like, Huh, you know, I just don't know, and you're not in a financial crisis, we're not in the mode of having to do what the crisis demands, because of a sudden hospital bill, an emergency car repair, something has come up where we have to just suck it up Buttercup, and do something we don't want to do. We're talking about normal everyday circumstances. If you're on the fence about somebody and you you do your your math and like, oh, by the time that the smoke clears on this, I would only net 500 bucks, sometimes just something that simple will make you go No, no for $500 putting up with Ned, the needy, or Mike the micromanager is not even almost worth it. Beyond the financial ramifications, you also want to think about whether emotionally it's going to be worth it. If that person is going to be blowing your telephone up and they're going to nitpick that whatever process that you already know works well for you. They're going to nitpick or they're going to change the parameters every five minutes. You really want to consider whether or not that's something you want to deal with. The fourth and final thing I will say is consider the project or the work itself. Is it something that energizes you? Is it something that you feel good and excited about? One thing I will tell you is that typically with Ned, the needy, and or Mike the micromanager, those types of clients are like so restrictive, they have so many requirements and so many restrictions, that you're not going to really be able in most cases to allow your creative juices to flow. So if we want to use a staffing and recruiting example, it could be okay, we need you to find somebody who's dual degreed as an MD and a PhD. We want him to live only in the state of Massachusetts, we will not consider anybody from any other state, he needs to have at least 10 years of experience, and he must have been at his current job for at least five of those 10 years. We don't want any job hoppers. But if he has any more experience than 12 years, we're not interested because we can't afford to pay what somebody 12 plus years would want. Now you should be able to find 100 people that meet this Dr. Stephe Strange criteria for us, yo know, in short order. And I' also going to want to know ever search tool that you're going t use, I'm going to want you t verify every phone number an email that you pull off you scraping software to make sur it's good. Now we're going t need every detail explained ou to us and everything justifie or we're not going to pay you bill, which we may not pa anyway. So good luck. I'm usin a little bit of hyperbole i that. But the sad thing is it' really only a little hyperbole There have been people that hav emailed me or called me to tr to get me to do projects lik that. I'm like, Oh, no, jus just know just know I value m sanity, too much to even ge involved in something like that So use good judgment. An always, always, always trus your gut. If something sound too good to be true, it probabl is. And if you get stuck on a intake call with someone who ha 50 just one last questions. M advice would be to walk in th opposite direction. Stay saf out there gang We hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you haven't already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next time.