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The Best Method For Dealing With Difficult People

Today's video comes from a question I got from one of our coaching students, Antonio Velasquez. Antonio writes:

"Hey Brad, I don't know how to say this politely but, I recently decided to take on a client that has proved to be very difficult. She doesn't show up for our appointments on time (and sometimes doesn't show at all) and is constantly challenging me at every point in the coaching process. I'm beginning to wonder if I've made a mistake in taking her on. My question is, how do you typically manage situations like this with difficult clients?"

Great question Antonio and let me first encourage you that, you're going to have clients and situations like this AND, the more experience you get, the easier it is to prevent some of this kind of thing from happening in the first place.

So, today I'm talking about the difficult people you're going to encounter if/when you start an online business or coaching practice. If you haven't yet, you definitely will have difficult people come into your universe. Difficult people, difficult customers and even difficult prospects.

Now the spoiler alert here is that I'm going to be a talking about how to avoid a lot of these nightmarish situations by drawing proper boundaries on the front end of your interactions.

In my first online business as a financial coach, I ran into LOTS of difficult and entitled people.

I ran into LOTS of people who had gotten themselves into tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, were feeling desperate about their situation and ultimately wanted someone to come alongside them to help them break free from their entanglements... and would sometimes become uncomfortable or even incensed when I shared that this would probably cost them some money.


The reality is, we're living in a society FULL of entitled people... Of people who are more than willing and able to wander their way into financial disaster, but NOT willing to exert themselves to get out of it.

AND, many of them become irritated when they find out that it's actually going to cost them money and some effort to get the help they actually need.

If you can't say "amen", you outta say "ouch"...

If you haven't yet, you most certainly will have to learn deal with people who are overly demanding, have unrealistic expectations and have a strong sense of entitlement to your time, your products, your services.

As we get into this, one pro tip I'd love to offer you is to have policies and procedures in place ahead of time, so that when these situations arise, you're not caught flatfooted.

Toward the end, I'll talk a little bit about HOW my own policies and procedures have evolved over my past 4+ years as an online business owner.

One core principle for you to get your head around early , and this is especially for once your platform starts to grow and get more attention is that, unless someone paying customer, you don't owe anybody anything...

Your free content should be good enough to really help all the people who would object to actually paying for your courses or for your services.

I get TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read) emails ALL THE TIME with folks outlining the details of some desperate situation that they expect for me to respond to (via email) with detailed advice on how to get them out of it.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's a part of me that really wants to help ALL of these folks, BUT my time and efforts are limited just like everyone else's.

Many times, I'll still respond with some links to some more of my free content that would address their situation and help walk them through it.

The only other alternatives are to offer my paid, step-by-step courses or my 1:1 coaching. But, they're usually not responsive to those, which is okay.

The point is that you're just simply not going to be helpful to everyone in all the ways they want you to be (for free) and that's okay.

Now, a lot of these boundaries have developed out of interactions very similar to the one I'm about to share with you.

This is a person I offered a coaching session to and that never engaged in my courses or any of my coaching afterward.

A few months ago this person sent me a scathing email in response to a video I did warning financial coaches about... essentially the very scarcity and lack of ownership mindset this person displays.

Here's part of what she said:

"The one thing that really rubs me wrong is when you blame hardworking, poor people for their plight.  Suggestions to cut out Starbucks are absurd because they are NOT buying coffee at Starbucks.  Nor are they binge shopping to fill a void.  When they use a credit card it is to BUY FOOD and other necessities of life because their lousy paying job(s) doesn't cover it all.

Several years ago,  I was one of those people you advised that my financial situation was "catastrophic" and I left our meeting feeling totally devastated.  Your advice to me was to get a corporate job which is pretty much impossible given my long history of self employment.  Not to mention living in a very rural area.  However, I ignored your depressing prediction to me and kept plugging away with self empowerment and improvement (which you say poor people don't do - grrrr....) and my multiple streams of income, which were running pretty dry at the time."

I'll spare you the rest of the TLDR and leave you with her summation as to the value of my content:

"So, anyway, please quit blaming poor people for their plight.  Just admit that you don't have the strategies to help them."

So first of all, it is not "blaming poor people" to outline for other professional coaches the prevalent mindset issues I see in our most desperate students.

There's no "blaming poor people", only an observation as to correlation.

And, by the way Starbucks, binge shopping and credit card usage are MAJOR factors we see ALL the time! The object of overspending doesn't matter as much as the overspending itself.

Second, and this happens all the time, just because you don't like my recommendations or another financial coach's recommendations or the delivery of my recommendations, doesn't mean that the solutions aren't viable. Thousands of our students have completely eliminated debt and moved on to some degree financial independence using our strategies.

If/how you deploy those strategies is completely up to you.

Actually, my specific documented plan was for this person was to:

1. Increase your income as soon as humanly possible.

2. Communicate with your creditors.

3. Focus on the "4 Walls" until you have sufficient income to start at least making minimum payments on your credit cards again.

So from my perspective, if you don't like my content or worldview, just click that little unsubscribe button and find someone that will pat you on the head and tell you everything is going to be alright if you just make a couple small adjustments.

That's not what I do.

So, now that we've talked about what "difficult" might look like, let's look at:


The Evolution Of My Policies And Procedures

  1. I started with "I'll be happy to talk to anyone" (which most of us do). This really helps curb that feeling of "speaking into the void" when you're first starting out. And that lead me to put my calendar link in all my public-facing content. Then, I had a couple of videos go viral on YouTube and my calendar was suddenly flooded with "free consultations".
  2. And that started my deeper awakening to the reality that TONS of folks want something for nothing and would either 1) ghost the call entirely or 2) try to turn the free 15-30 min call into a coaching session, which it was never intended to be, nor can it be. The truth is, the more complicated the scenario the more time it takes JUST for me to get a clear understanding SO THAT I can start to coach them out of it. And understanding process can sometimes take weeks or even months.
  3. Because of that, my "I'll be happy to talk to anyone" quickly turned into, let me put a short questionnaire at the front of my calendar booking link, so I can "pre-screen" some of these folks. It's a little micro-commitment on their part that I thought would weed out some of the "ghosts".
  4. And even that didn't really curb the ghosting or freebie seeking, so I NOW require a paid-up-front discovery call where I can spend 90 minutes to really listen, understand and correctly diagnose.

My advice to you would be to start at point 2 or 3, BUT I do understand that at first, you're just really hungry to talk to actual people and to get that real world experience.

Thanks Antonio and I hope that helps.

By the way, I outline the 6 simple steps to this process in this guide (link below).

And, if you want to see how to turn your coaching practice into a viable online business, I show you exactly how in this video right here.

I'm actually waiting for you in this video right here.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. If you're wanting forward momentum in your business, I'd recommend starting with an affordable course:

➡️ The ADAPTIVE. Solopreneur - Course Bundle: Productize your knowledge with my niche validation, content, marketing, audience attraction and traffic growth system. Everything you need to start, grow and scale a profitable solopreneur business.

2. Register for my next free in-depth workshop on how to start, grow and scale an online business from a side-hustle to six-figures and beyond: Register here.

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