Learn How to Identify and Protect Businesses from Toxic Clients

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Difficult customers are a part of business, but what if a customer refuses to pay, insults employees, or makes unreasonable demands? Garrett Sutton's book on customer management doubles as a small business survival guide by coaching entrepreneurs through making their business resilient to bad clients.

Front cover of Garret Sutton's book, "Toxic Client: Knowing and Avoiding Problem Customers."

Front cover of Garret Sutton's book, "Toxic Client: Knowing and Avoiding Problem Customers."

In listening to these stories and learning of the common experiences shared by all business owners it becomes abundantly clear: the customer is not always right.

“Toxic Client: Knowing And Avoiding Problem Customers,” by best-selling author and corporate lawyer Garrett Sutton, equips business owners with the knowledge to detect and avoid toxic clients before they poison a business. The book distills what Sutton has learned from years of advising owners on corporate legal structures into case studies, based on real events, that illustrate the do’s and don’ts of dealing with toxic customers. From these case studies, Garrett Sutton, founder of Corporate Direct, crafts a survival handbook for those looking to protect their income and their sanity by avoiding bad clients.

“Toxic Client” describes the most common indicators of client toxicity as:

  • Asking for or expecting free advice
  • Not paying, or manipulating the payment process
  • Missing appointments or deadlines
  • Making impossible demands
  • Being abusive
  • Acting irrationally

No industry is immune to difficult clients who complain, constantly change their minds, yell, make unreasonable demands, second-guess, miss appointments, refuse to listen, or won’t pay up. In fact, according to Sutton, 95% of business owners have encountered toxic clients, and he says, “In listening to these stories and learning of the common experiences shared by all business owners it becomes abundantly clear: the customer is not always right.” Through the case studies found in this book, Sutton will help business owners identify these wrong customers before they ever become a client.

The best strategy for dealing with toxic clients is to avoid doing business with them in the first place.

“Knowing that you will encounter a toxic client is the first step to avoiding them,” says Sutton. “The next step is to set up a security system that enables you to detect the danger in advance. The third and final step is knowing how to minimize the damage if the problem individual does, indeed, get in your door.”

"Toxic Client" teaches business owners how to prevent toxic customers from infecting their business with steps such as:

  • Conducting research on the client
  • Noting potential red flags for toxicity
  • Setting up retainers and other advance payments
  • Protecting a business with clear contracts

As Sutton notes, an 80/20 rule applies: 80% of a company’s profits will come from 20% of its customers, and 80% of a company’s problems will come from 20% of its customers.

“Seek out the healthy relationships you want rather than passively waiting for inquiries,” he says. “If you are intentional about the kind of clients you want, you will take a more active versus passive role in shaping your future.”

Sutton’s lessons, advice, and examples will teach a wide-range of business owners how to prevent problem customers from sapping precious resources, so they can focus on the customers that matter most.

If you would like a sample of the book, you can download a free chapter from the Toxic Client website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Garrett Sutton is a nationally acclaimed corporate attorney and asset protection expert. He has more than 30 years of experience in helping individuals and businesses determine appropriate corporate structures, limit liability, protect assets, and achieve goals. He is the founder of Corporate Direct and Sutton Law Center, which since 1988 have provided affordable asset protection and corporate formation and maintenance services.

Sutton is highly sought after as a guest speaker and serves as a member of the elite group of Rich Dad Advisors for bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki. He attended Colorado College and the University of California, Berkeley and obtained his law degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.

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Tamika Holmes
@GarrettSutton
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