This past week I had a business associate come to my office and explain that one of his biggest frustrations came from his top client. This client continually asked my associate to do projects that were not only counterproductive to his company but was actually causing a lot of conflict within the organization. However, he did not dare tell the customer no because it would disrupt other lines of business.
This led me to recall a similar dilemma in my career. I was running Mitsubishi’s Electric PC division at the time and had one particular customer that was very difficult and caustic to work with. They were by no means our largest client, but they consumed much of our resources. I approached my boss, Dr. Peter Horne, on the topic and told him I wanted to fire our client. He looked at me and in his posh, British accent said, “Rich, why would you ever do that? Just triple the price on them. Let them be the ones to say no, thus saving the relationship by putting them in control and allowing you to continue being the good guy.”
It was a brilliant piece of advice. And indeed that’s exactly what I did. My mentor’s advice is as relevant today as it was when I first heard it. I was able to pass my mentor’s advice to my business associate and I want to do the same for you. You can still maintain your relationship with your customers and keep control of your business. Take matters into your own hands and say no to difficult customers by increasing your price. Be the good guy and give yourself more value.