This article was based upon episode #8, please watch the complete episode here.
“F*** Y**, I will not do business with you, you piece of S***” - Will Haire’s client
When you meet someone for the first time, something within you will help you determine if the person is respectable or if they give off a bad vibe. Some might determine this because of the person’s actions or behavior when they meet for the first time, while others might consider the way a person talks. However, others do not possess this kind of skill and are not cautious enough around new people.
On normal days it might be okay, but if you are a businessman, you must spend some time learning how to read people. Why, you ask? It’s because knowing who to trust when it comes to business is highly crucial. Even if the person is wearing a facade, you can still see through a person’s character if you truly know how to read people.
This happens to be the skill that our featured guest has, and if it weren’t for him reading the attitude and character of his client, things would have gone worse for him and his team. Luckily, he was able to stop it while it was still starting, but he still did not escape the horrors of this story. Don’t forget to grab your notes as well, for there will be lessons along the way.
Will Haire is part of an agency that sells Amazon as a service to other business owners. While he was working, someone went to Will’s website to call for help. This person is an Israelis businessman who owns a beauty brand and has successfully penetrated the Israeli market. The client wanted to step up his game, join the US market for more opportunities, and wanted help from Will’s agency to make it happen. Will gladly accepted the job, and they started working on getting the client’s beauty brand to the market immediately.
Will talked about the process and shared some case studies with Paul, and he became more interested. Will then let his client sign a contract about the payment, how the invoice will be sent, and other terms they have agreed on.
1.Always have a contract
I don’t know how many times we pointed this out already, but again always have a contract whenever you do projects with various clients. If you have been reading my previous articles, you surely know how the absence of a contract affected the lives of my previous guests, right? Well, luckily, it won’t happen in this story.
After the contract signing, Will’s client talked to his partners about their conversation with Will. While the client was working on his part, Will wasted no time and immediately started a kickoff call. He notified all project stakeholders and his legal team that the project would begin shortly.
This was also the time that Will experienced the first red flag coming from the client. During the call, the client’s business partner showed up and joined the video call. Let’s call him Troy.
Upon entering the call, Will and the rest of the team immediately noticed Troy’s disrespectful behavior. He joined the call being loud and obnoxious. He had no idea what was happening, and he did not even bother to ask. He hadn’t realized that he was paying for Will’s services, and to top it all, he was literally driving his car while attending the meeting.
His focus was not entirely on the call, he had no interest in what Will and the rest were going to say in the meeting, and he was disrespecting the formality of the call by creating loud noises. He then pulled over to the side of the road, asked many questions, tried to pace up everything, and then left the call.
2.Learn how to read a person’s character
Will immediately knew that this guy would be trouble judging from that disrespectful act. Troy clearly showed to them that he has no interest in what they will say. He did not put effort into it or at least stopping at an appropriate place for the call. He had no respect for time and many more. Other people in business would tolerate this attitude coming from their clients because they need to win their trust, but for Will, it is unacceptable.
Will was now cautious toward Troy, his client’s business partner. Also, because Troy had no idea what they were talking about, Will concluded that his client and Troy aren’t talking to each other and don’t have a healthy relationship.
So, after that call, everyone, including Will, was shocked about the disrespect that they experienced. The project manager looked at Will and told him, “oh my god, what have we just got ourselves into.” Will felt a little bit of pressure, but good thing the project manager was just joking. He eased the tension of the situation, and they continued making preparations to start the project.
After a couple of days, Will started working and began doing a keyword research process and optimizing campaigns. Will approved a couple of listings and did other things as well. While all of this was happening, Will uncovered another red flag from the client’s business partner. It turns out that Troy owns the majority of the beauty brand. Therefore, Troy’s more likely the main shareholder of the business.
This was a red flag for Will because he already knows Troy has an unpleasant attitude and is highly difficult to work with. Will and his team would still communicate with their client on most parts of the project, but they would often ask Troy’s permission as the business owner.
What Will’s team feared actually came true. Troy started to use their project manager as his confidant. Troy would casually badmouth his other business partners, including Will’s client, saying that he doesn’t like them.
Will and his team were also involved in the conversation, and it got heated up until it got to the point where Troy fired his business partner, Will’s client, and took over the project himself. A major red flag for Will and probably a great lesson that you should know.
3.Observe how a person treats his companions
Carefully watch how a person treats his companions because that is how he will treat you. No matter how close they were with his business partners, he still had the guts to talk bad about them behind their backs and actually fire them because of his hatred towards them. If that is how Troy treats his partners and companions, there is no way of telling them that he wouldn’t do it to Will’s team.
So if you see that your client mistreats his employees or other staff, you must consider ending the contract immediately. I mean, come to think of it, if he can easily do that to his subordinates, how much more to someone who is a temporary companion?
Will failed to notice this because he was too busy working on completing the given task. So Troy fired all of his partners and took over the three months’ worth of work they had with their previous client. Now, Will and his team were working for this undisciplined and disrespectful business owner.
However, even if the business owner has a bad attitude, their project manager didn’t stop courting him to gain his trust. Eventually, both of them build a working relationship, and they even spend the night getting drinks and talking about personal things.
4.Be direct and confrontational
Always be straightforward and confrontational when making remarks or even just chatting to someone. Also, avoid beating around the bush. You can still be respectful and direct with the proper tone and choice of words.
Some individuals prefer to provide constructive criticism courteously since they fear that they might be offending the other party. Well, it is entirely up to the individual to interpret a comment. Still, it is preferable to give the individual an honest assessment of his work to be aware of his areas of improvement, rather than showering them with flowery words and making positive comments about something false.
Will wasn’t afraid of how Troy would think of him, and he frankly explained to him how Amazon worked so that Troy would understand the situation. Will explained it professionally and didn’t follow the style of his project manager, who is so caring and pampering to Troy.
Now it is important to take note that there are multiple types of sellers in the marketplace. Will’s team specializes in working with brand owners with trademarks and sellers that actually own the brand. What they do is that they ask the brand owner if there is something trademarkable about their brand that will allow his team to get the brand registered. If there is, the team will then get a bunch of features on Amazon that would help them sell and launch the products in the market immediately.
As simple as it sounds, it’s quite a process. So, after Will had made the necessary preparation, it was now time to do what they specialize in doing. Will asked Troy, “Are you the brand owner and is there something trademarkable about your brand?” Shockingly, Troy wasn’t actually the owner of the brand. He just got a letter of authorization to represent the manufacturer on Amazon in the US markets.
What’s worse is that they only did a “handshake deal” from the brand owner and didn’t sign any contract or agreement. If the brand owner doesn’t put that into the contracts, he can say to the other wholesalers that they are not allowed to sell on other marketplaces and that they have to respect map pricing.
He could just do this “handshake deal” again with other sellers and hold products for Troy if he doesn’t follow the deal. This was a complete mess, but Will and his team continued to advertise the product, and Troy started to see the sale traffic on some of the products.
Troy misrepresented the brand, and Will said that he could still work with the brand, but they had to get rid of the reseller first. This reseller needs to be removed because he is starting to list on their listings, and it seems like he was the one benefiting from what Will’s team is doing. Because of this, Troy lost his mind and threw a fit. He started to yell stuff at himself like, “This is BS, I spent all my money on this,” and many more.
This frightened everyone on Will’s team, including the stockholders, so Will bravely called Troy. Will said that they don’t tolerate that kind of language. They don’t talk like that, and they most definitely don’t want to observe that attitude anymore. The marketplace specialist was very uncomfortable and said they don’t want to work with Troy anymore. After that, Will sent out a synthesis letter and contacted the reseller who took advantage of their work.
Will wanted the reseller to agree to their statement. In the letter, Will said, “hey we notice you’re selling on this that violates this can you take your products down?” The reseller was also being rude and replied, “this is a free country, make me.” Again, Will gravely disrespected, but still, he responded professionally: “Well we can’t but we can buy back your inventory.” After that, Will consulted a lawyer for the problem.
But before that happened, Will called the manufacturer of the beauty products and also made an agreement with him, saying that “I’m representing this company and we need to come to some type of agreement. We’re willing to buy back your inventory at wholesale costs and we’ll pay for the shipping back. We are also going to ship the products to amazon so we will pay for everything, just send all the products over to us.”
It seems like a pretty fair trade because Will’s team will buy the products and sell them in the US market, to which the manufacturer will earn money as well.
Even if the beauty items weren’t sold in the US under the owner’s name, it was still a fair exchange because everything was already sinking. The manufacturer did not have any problems with it, and they said it was fine.
However, the business owner who was rude to Will sent him an email and wrote in capital letters, “F*** Y**, I will not do business with you, you piece of S***. I will only buy back your inventory at half the sales price and pay for all the freight!”
That was the end of it, and Will didn’t contact Troy or the manufacturer. He just wanted to be out of that project and swore that he would never work for a client like that ever again.
Thankfully, Will made the proper judgments, preventing the situation from worsening. He was pretty professional in his dealings with this client, and as a result, he was able to discern his client’s true colors. Make sure to learn from this story’s lessons and be aware of people like Will’s client. Learn to read a person’s character so you can determine whether or not they are worthy of your skills, time, and effort.
This article was based upon episode #8, please watch the complete episode here.