If you’re in business at one point or another you have probably found yourself complaining about a client and saying something like this:

  • They’re difficult to work with
  • They don’t pay on time
  • They make too many changes to the project
  • Their demands are unreasonable

These are the clients that can make your life a living hell for every day that you handle their business. If you’re “lucky” or even better, if you know how to effectively “manage” your client relationships, the list of your difficult clients is quite short and you find that most of your clients are actually “good” ones.

But what about you? If the tables were turned would your vendors and the companies with whom you do business consider you to be a good client?

Being in a good client – vendor relationship is kind of like a marriage. After all, both parties have quite a bit riding on the relationship and therefore should have a vested interest in making it work. But that’s not always the situation because sometimes the “bad” client is the person looking back at you in the mirror.

Here are three things that you can do (immediately) so that you can be sure to never be referred to as “that” client:

Be polite and respectful and treat your vendor or business resource like you want to be treated.

It’s incredibly simple. Barking orders and being rude and verbally abusive have no place in your business relationships. All of us want to be appreciated and treated with respect and if you treat your vendors in such a manner you’ll find that they will work harder on your behalf and go the extra mile when necessary. Be considerate when things are going well and understanding when things have gone awry (“we’re all human and mistakes can be made”) and recognize that it could be “you” on the other side of that table.

Pay your invoice in a timely manner.

Making a company “fight” to get paid is bad business behavior. If the work was done and it meets your expectations your vendor deserves to be paid on time. If the work that was delivered did not meet your expectations then you must address your dissatisfaction with them and come to an agreement rather than ignoring their invoice and collection calls. If cash flow is an issue, be honest and find out if you can work out a payment plan. Once again they did the work; payment is due!

Make certain that your demands are reasonable.

“Rush”” jobs are a part of business and most companies are willing to work with you as much as possible. They’ll bend over backwards to meet your time requirements and handle changes even when they come up at the last minute, but when these changes are all too frequent or your deadlines are downright impossible then you cross over the line and become that difficult client. When you expect the impossible you should also expect to pay a surcharge and if you refuse to accept the additional fee, then you are more than a difficult client, you’re downright unfair.

Maybe it’s not so simple after all but I contend that good clients beget good vendors. Why not give it a try?