How to manage a dishonest customer, the essential advice

You have concluded your sale. You are proud and happy. But then, as you work with your new client, you realize that he or she is dishonest. It seeks to mislead you and obtain products or services not included in the initial contract. How to react ? How to manage this dishonest customer ? Here are my conclusions.

How to recognize a dishonest customer

Typically a dishonest customer is a customer who during the negotiation phase will voluntarily minimize his needs to make your quote as cheap as possible. This will not prevent him from haggling over and over again about the final price, even though he already knows that he is cheating on you.

Once the agreement is reached, this is where the downward spiral begins. First of all, it will try to take « the upper hand » over you :

  • he’s going to rush you with unsustainable deadlines
  • he’s going to submit a lot of requests to you simultaneously
  • he will express his dissatisfaction at every opportunity
  • it will remind you of the least of the commitments you have made (and even those you have not made…)
  • he will systematically blame you for the slightest mistake
  • it will take advantage of your weaknesses (example : you start your business, you need cash, you need references, you are from a lower social class, etc.)
The dishonest customer
The dishonest customer

In fact, these signals can be summarized as follows : a dishonest customer will not seek the win-win business relationship. He deliberately tries to tip the scales excessively towards him.

However, such a commercial relationship is not sustainable. It does not allow both parties to flourish. A party (you) will necessarily be harmed. In addition, such a customer can be very detrimental to those starting their own business.

How should you react then ? Should you refuse to deal with this type of customer ? Play his game and use the same dishonest techniques ?

My conclusion is as follows : we must be more intelligent and, above all, maintain honest and honest behaviour.

Why not play into the game of the dishonest customer ?

In other words : why not become dishonest like his client ?

First of all, because you won’t win. Don’t look, if you don’t have this mentality within you, you won’t be able to fight on equal terms on its field. You will always have cases of conscience, while your dishonest customer does not. Worse, he takes pleasure in making your relationship unbalanced and unfair.

But also because it would lead to nothing. Remember : a business relationship must be based on a fair win-win relationship, which will ensure its sustainability.

Finally, because in life, you have to love what you do. Any source of stress must be ruled out. So keep your distance with such methods.

If you like my articles, then in a way we look alike. And I am one of the « good ones », just like you :)

But then Simon, what should we do ?

Your discounts are never « free »

This means that every time you grant a commercial gesture, then there is a sine qua non condition :

  • signing of the immediate contract
  • advance payment
  • duration commitment
  • etc.

This saved me during a difficult negotiation with a « dishonest » customer case. This customer pushed me to give him significant discounts on a rate that was already very competitive. He even took the initiative to write on his paper more important discounts than those I gave by taking them for granted.

But every time I gave a discount, I asked for something in return. I asked that the contract be signed the next day and that full payment be made at the same time.

Then comes the moment when the dishonest customer, who knew my terms and conditions, says : « Okay to sign the contract, but payment will be made in two installments ».

Calmly, and without trying to gain psychological control over this client, I said that I had a condition and that it was non-negotiable. As a result, the customer accepted my initial offer without any discount !

Don’t try to be right…

… because you’ll never get it. A dishonest customer is… dishonest ! So despite all the arguments and evidence you can show him, he will never change his position, like an endless video

It is useless to fight against the current.

In fact, you shouldn’t play his game. Don’t get into a confrontation. Save your energy for customers who deserve it more !

Do not accept lack of respect

The only time you can get carried away is if your client disrespects you.

I had many sales people in my teams who were afraid of losing their customers. They were getting to a point where they accepted that they were being disrespected.

I say NO. Never accept that you are disrespected. And from experience, every time I put a disrespectful customer in his place, I never lost him !

Set yourself fixed working hours

The first « bonus » that dishonest customers will seek is your time. He will have no problem calling you outside office hours to ask you to do work on the spot.

You have to refuse. You simply explain that your working days are from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm.

Have a precise price list

The dishonest customer will seek to « scratch » free services and products. Hence the importance of having a precise price list from the beginning, and above all to make it known to your customer. Attach it to the commercial contract, for example, get it signed.

So when the customer asks you, as if nothing were wrong, for a service, then you will simply answer him : « yes we can do it, according to the grid I have already given you, it will be charged *** ».

Don’t take your client’s stress

Usually dishonest customers always ask you for work for the day before. They will ALWAYS have a good reason to justify their urgency. With them, you systematically have the impression that the end of the world is for tomorrow.

Don’t believe them. Don’t drag it out, but don’t stress for them.

Either they have mismanaged their planning themselves or they are simply lying to you.

Don’t waste your health on this kind of client.

Moreover, giving you work that is always urgent is one of their techniques to destabilize you and get more than what was provided for in the contract …

Always get paid on time

In addition to obtaining undue products and services, dishonest customers are also generally delinquent payers. They will hurt your average customer payment time !

I once had a client of this type. I reminded him that he couldn’t ask me anything and everything. That only the tasks indicated in the contract were required.

He then said to me : « But the customer is king ! ».

The problem is that this customer was in arrears and was deliberately dragging him out. So I answered him : « Yes, the customer is king, when he pays ! ». And I left.

What use is it to have a customer, who is also dishonest, if he doesn’t pay you ?

Always maintain impeccable behaviour

Respect your commitments. Don’t lie to me. Don’t cheat. Keep to your deadlines.

You must be beyond reproach.

But why if the customer himself is a perfect con man ? Because you’re not like him.

In general, you will always benefit from beinghave in a straightforward and honest manner. If only to be able to look at you without blinking in the mirror !

What is to be gained by working for a dishonest customer ?

To begin with : the intellectual satisfaction of managing a difficult customer. If you give up at the slightest difficulty, how do you want to improve ?

It is with difficult customers (including dishonest customers) that we can gain levels. So be happy when you come across one of them, because it’s a great opportunity to gain experience.

And of course : money. Yes it is possible to earn money with indelicate customers :)

Follow the advice in this article. Don’t conflict with your customer, don’t try to be right, don’t take the stress they want to impose on you, set a clear rate schedule and sine qua non conditions, and it will be possible to earn money !

And if, despite everything, the customer gets carried away by your calm, does not want to pay for all your services or does not want to pay at all… then he is not a customer. Turn your back on him, and as the other one would say :

One bad customer lost, 10 new customers acquired door-to-door !


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here