Maximising your productivity by weeding out problem clients

Posted by Stuart Hinds on

Therapist client interview

How much time do you spend on problem clients?

No, this isn't about clients with a wry neck that just won't respond to treatment or your cyclist client who maybe over-shares just a bit too much. 

We all have problem clients. They're the ones who you have to constantly chase for unpaid invoices, the ones who constantly question every professional decision, the ones who show up late and don't respect your time. And we suppress a sigh, grit our teeth, and get on with the job the best we can. 

But here's the thing about troublesome clients: they're a time sink. How much time and energy does it take to keep them happy? How much time are you spending chasing them for that invoice, or patiently explaining your treatment (again), or calling them to remind them about the appointment that has already started. If you’re spending all your energy keeping them happy, you won’t have the time or energy to attract more A+ clients.


Problem clients cost you more than just money

There are some clients who are just not worth your effort. So what do we do with problem clients?

Cull them. 

It may seem harsh or irresponsible to weed out those clients who make your life difficult, but the reality is that they're preventing you from doing your best work. Every minute you spend on them is a minute you could be spending on someone who respects your time and your work. 

And here's the thing: just because these clients aren't the right fit for you, that doesn't mean they aren't the right fit for someone else. It might be they will respond better to someone else's environment or personality. You're not doing problem clients any favours by keeping them on - in fact, you might be helping them as much as you're helping yourself! 


What makes a problem client?

Knowing that a client can be a problem is one thing, but being able to spot one before they become a client is very different. This takes practice, so... practice! Take some time to think clinically about problem clients you've dealt with in the past. You want to separate the feeling that makes you quietly roll your eyes and think about why you're rolling your eyes.

What did your problem clients have in common? What behaviours did they display? Were there any warning signs at the first meeting? Do any of your colleagues share your experiences? 


What does your ideal client look like? How do you find the ideal client?

Let's take a look at your ideal client. Start by thinking about the clients you already have. Who are the ones you look forward to seeing? Describe them: what do they have in common? Take some time to think about their attributes as people as much as their attributes as clients. Who are they? How do you interact with them? Is there a particular service that you provide for them? 

Hopefully, you'll now have a few dot points at least describing the kind of client you want to see filling your waiting room. The next step is thinking about where you can find more clients like the ones you're describing. 

This can be a hard nut to crack, but try not to get overwhelmed by it. Think positively and brainstorm in whatever ways work for you. What do they like? Where can you find them? Who else will you find them with? Build up a clear profile of what your ideal client looks like and think about everything, from their hobbies, choices in food, family relationships, their job, and where they live. 

All this information will help you better tailor your efforts to attracting these clients. If you want to specialise in pregnancy massage, for example, you can focus on building relationships with paediatric specialists and having a waiting room with bathrooms close to hand. If your ideal clients are cyclists, maybe try to have your business clearly visible along a popular urban track and sponsor local cycling competitions. If your ideal client is an office worker who pops in during their lunch break, focus on an experience that offers efficient service through automated check-ins and rewards loyalty. 

But first, you need to weed the clients who are slowing you down. Remember, your problem client is someone else's ideal client. The sooner you weed out the problems the more time you'll have to focus on finding more of your perfect client.


Want to know more?

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About the author

Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.

Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.

In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.

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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 

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