Published on July 10, 2021
Challenging clients vs. difficult clients. Hmm? 🤔
Everyone in business has them.
In my world, challenging clients are those who’ve tried everything and failed; have multiple medical issues; suffer with autoimmune diseases; are going through the emotional infertility process; are in the midst of a messy divorce or other household trauma; bring new issues to my attention for the first time, such as, not long ago, Trichotillomania; are in recovery from eating disorders; and the list of “challenges” is endless. I thrive on these. I am rewarded by them because each new challenge brings new learning.
Difficult clients, however, are those who:
✅ insist they know everything about weight loss because they’ve been dieting for years;
✅ who want me to change my program and services to accommodate what they want to do;
✅ who think that paying me means I’ll be at their beck and call any time they want.
✅ who have a long list of things they don’t eat and without a substantive reason. They don’t like “this” because they never tried it. They won’t eat “that” because they had it once when they were like 2 years old (it’s now 30 years or more later).
✅ who grunt or snort at the mere suggestion to keep their minds open to trying new things;
✅ who tense up at the thought of having to set aside time to actually “do” the work of getting slim (planning, shopping, prepping, portion control, etc.)
All the “won’ts” and “don’ts” and “can’ts” and “nots” is, in large measure, WHY they are in the situations they’re in to begin with.
I’m reminded of an email I received just a few months ago, April 2021, from a former successful client, whose two sons and brother-in-law are all currently in the program now, all “thisclose” to goal, and between the three of them have lost over 250 pounds. Anyway, she reached out to me and I quote:
“I have someone else who might be interested. But the major problem is she will not eat vegetables, only corn and tomatoes. I know crazy right?! Have you ever dealt with someone who had issues like this?”
. . . to which I responded:
“I am always appreciative of your referrals, but this time . . . no. I don’t want to work with someone who right from the get-go is telling me all the things they don’t do, can’t do, and won’t ever do. I’m not going to change the parameters of my program to suit HER lifestyle. That’s how she got fat in the first place, right?”
To effect change, you need to change.
Uh uh. I’m not walking into a relationship with a difficult person with my eyes wide open. I don’t need the business or the money that badly. That’s why the consultation — and that’s IF I want to schedule one after an initial preliminary phone conversation — is not necessarily about whether they want to join my program but, rather, whether I want to take them on as a client.