We all get them:
- Buyer wants a discount
- Buyer wants a free sample
- Buyer wants more than he has paid for
- Buyer asks for a revision which is actually completely different to what was ordered
- Buyer wants to discuss something at length before/after an order
- Buyer wants to cancel after delivery
Very often, people on the forum complain about this type of buyer and label them as “bad buyers”.
However, that is not always the case and I would suggest that the number of actual “bad buyers” is significantly less than one might imagine based on the number of posts about them.
What I have found at every level and various price points is that these requests come from a place of not understanding, not realizing, not being aware of what they are doing. This might sound absurd but having experimented with various ways of handling these situations, the vast majority of such questions are actually manageable, if done in the right way.
Firstly, there will always be exceptions and some unreasonable people. However, if you seem to get more problematic buyers than others, then it is likely to be time to look at yourself and how you manage things. If you have ever worked in retail, you will be aware of just how odd the general public can be. If you haven’t, then you would be in for a shock.
So what do you do when you find yourself dealing with someone who acts like this?
The simple solution is to “get rid of them”.
Simply sending a negative reply will get rid of some, while others will have a pointless retort such as “this is terrible customer service”, “why are you even offering this then?” or “I found someone who will do it cheaper”.
- Or, you can address what they have said with a professional response
- Thanks for your message, unfortunately I don’t do x, y, z but I can do a, b, c, would that work for you?
- No I don’t offer discounts on my services as my prices are already lower than I charge anywhere else.
- I would be happy to change the order for you and have included a custom extra below to cover the additional cost of making this change for you.
- Sorry, but I don’t cancel after I have done the work. If there is something you would like changed then we can discuss the options for that.
Or, you can just do what they want and then moan about it later, having spent 6 hours working on a $5 order
Please don’t do this. It devalues you and everyone else on the site. More than that, it will actually demotivate you and cause your work and customer service to suffer for other clients. If you have 6 hours to spare, instead of working for less than $4, work on promoting yourself, learn how to use social media, blogging, and other promotion methods. This will be much more valuable to you than the “lost” $4.
Saying no to someone is not a bad thing.
There is a misconception among sellers that saying no is going to end up badly. They think “the customer is always right” means that they have to do whatever they want. This is simply not true and is definitely not what Mr. Selfridge meant when he coined it. Read the top 5 reasons why this phrase is wrong, or actually, why what people think it means is wrong.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that you should put yourself FIRST and the customer SECOND.
Now, that is not a slogan that any company will ever use publicly but if that is your mentality (and you have any kind of business sense) it will make you more successful and lead to better served and happier customers.
Valuing Yourself Properly
Valuing yourself and respecting your own boundaries will actually make you better at what you do, as well as happier. It leads you to speak with customers from the same level, as an equal, as the person in control. If you are good at what you do, this is extremely good for customers because you will not waste their time, you will price fairly and be happy to deal with that customer - all of which means they feel they have got a better service. You come across as a professional. You know why some people always ask to see the manager? It’s because they want the person in authority, the decision maker. MAKE YOURSELF “THE MANAGER” by valuing yourself properly.
Then, when you say no, the customer knows you mean it and take your word as being the final word. If it is about price, be clear about why the price can’t or has to change - eg. I had this conversation recently:
Hi i have a ton of work for you, but i would like to negotiate a little the price right now you are charging 1000 words / 15$, so every word is 0.015 i would like to be charged around 0.005 $ per word, please let me know if you can do it, here you can find the first set of package
How about this.
I will do a great job of translating but I would like to be paid around $1 per word!
Seriously though, why do you think I would cut my price down to $5 per 1000 words. I would literally earn more if I was a 16 year-old working in McDonalds.
Now, my response was friendly and clear as well as establishing the fact that I value myself correctly. It had a little humor, but was also quite straight to the point - what you are offering is not enough, period.
This has resulted in a series of projects with this client and will total 250k words by the end, all at my going rate with a small discount that I offered after the first 50,000 words.
If I had just said “No” to the client, that would have been the end of it.
If I had accepted that rate, I would be absolutely miserable working on this while having to send away higher paying clients. Moreover, the client is exceptionally happy with the work and the overall experience.
Now, this situation is just one of many similar cases where the initial contact with the client was what others would call negative. Some clients do not order with me because my price is higher than their budget - that’s ok. They go away disappointed because they cannot work with me - some even come back weeks or months later having saved up the required amount!
So there you have it, dealing with “bad buyers” is not so bad usually. How you handle them can dramatically change things for both of you. Try it out next time and see how it goes.
If you disagree or can take nothing else from this whole post, just go read the Valuing Yourself Properly section again.