Some clients are a delight to work with, usually those with a clear need, a healthy respect for what you do, and maybe a sense of humor. Others… well, not so much.
Telling them apart in time to “dodge the bullet” is not always easy, but it’s certainly possible if you pay attention early on. If clients feel they can push you around during the sales process, they will absolutely continue doing it after the sale.
So, if the client:
- thinks they could basically do what you do, “if only they had the time”
- makes you wait, file paperwork, and jump through hoops to get their business
- demands needless exceptions because they feel rules shouldn’t apply to them
- asks to micro-manage your offer, by “going through” your pricing
then you should absolutely expect them to act like that along the full length of your engagement. And why not? Being an actual boss comes with obligations to your employees, but not toward outside counsels and freelancers. Acting like a boss towards them anyway however feels great and if they get no pushback – why would they correct their course?
It’s hard to grasp why what you do is important for them, and why acting like a boss towards your freelance expert makes as much sense as acting like that toward your brain surgeon. Change what they see in the pre-sale part, and enjoy not being “boxed” into dealing with tough clients afterward.