Can of worms clients make the perfect subject for blog posts. The scenarios that unfold are painfully relevant. The experiences make for brutally honest reading and insights we all can value.
This year, my blog post “Let’s Open another Can of Worms!” won a 2015 Bronze Medal, Top Sales & Marketing Blog Post, Top Sales World. The post discusses my real-life conversations with a can of worms client. Who knew that blogging about my own experience, ultimately, would be rewarded by an award?
There actually is value (yes, I just said value) in experiencing can of worms clients, as we fine-tune our own skill sets and grow into business people of worth. Let’s explore together.
Can of worms clients create scenarios where our key contact will not, or can not, make a decision. Our contact is in denial: they are not as powerful as their title belies (Vice President of Something or Other). Functionally, our key contact is a gatekeeper: they want to have power and control over someone and that someone happens to be us. They continually block our access to the real decision-makers because our key contact has zero clout with the C-Suite and less than zero influence.
Can of worms clients never appreciate the value that we bring to their business tables. We wrestle to come to grips with the fact that any proposal we create will never be signed. We realize that our key contact is not powerful enough, confident enough and invested enough to champion our value to the C-Suite. Our key contact’s primary areas of focus are: covering their own butt and not rocking the corporate boat.
Can of worms clients are members of dysfunctional corporate cultures. We do our best to avoid getting sucked into their power struggles. We observe, analyze and decide who the real decision makers are. We watch how can of worms agendas continuously undermine the anemic efforts of our key contact to gain recognition with the C-Suite.
Can of worms contacts are part of corporate cultures which are inwardly focused on their company’s own perceived self-importance. Customer-centricity is an afterthought. Their customer base is considered static and guaranteed instead of dynamic and discerning. We duly note that our clients’ collective heads remain buried in the sand of “the way things were.” Our clients have no sense of the way things need to be in order to sustain their pipelines so there is a reasonable degree of certainty that their business will see a tomorrow and a future.
We learn to avoid the temptation to beat ourselves up about not doing something “right.” We conclude that these folks make it extremely difficult for even their own people to do the right things the right way.
We acknowledge that can of worms clients are not the types of children we want to be playing with in our business sandbox. Can of worms clients catalyze us to define our A-List customers, those clients who appreciate the value we bring to their business tables.
Can of worms clients should be avoided. However, we all run into them. And while we would love to go dark on them, we can’t. We are true business professionals of worth. And while we would love to run – no, wait, flee – from these types of people, we adopt a strategy of gradually distancing ourselves from them so we can make a graceful, and professional, exit.
Can of worms clients reconnect us all with our core values and core competencies. The experiences reinforce our personal and professional ethics and self-respect.
Yup. Can of Worms clients catalyze personal and professional growth.
Can of Worms clients allow us to fine-tune our professional skill sets as we deal with their dysfunction. Can of Worms customers catalyze a shift in our focus towards A-List customers: the types of clients who value what we bring to their tables because we both bring out the best in each other, time after time.
You can enjoy my original entire article by clicking on this link! So tell me: have you had similar experiences?
Babette N. Ten Haken builds innovative, productive and profitable teams focused on excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.