It does not matter how modest or overbearing your company is - you are always going to run into difficult customers who want to make you punch a wall. And just like the risks you manage, there are a few who are worth dealing with and a few who are too much of a hassle for little to no gain. From time to time, you have to pick and choose which ones to leave behind.

There are a couple of questions you must ask yourself - and then go over it as you deal with your customers, when you are talking to the hard ones. Some examples of these situations are:

Do they know what they are looking for?
What you want to know right off the bat is, does the customer have a good grasp on their own situation? They've asked you for help, but if they do not know what they want, then they will project their reality onto you, and they may never be a happy customer. You may not even see any type of financial gain from helping them. First, take the time to help them understand, both for you and your customers benefit. What do they need? Maybe they have to go back to the basics and figure out what they really want. Either way, it's critical that you help them without spending hours getting them to realize what they should have known before they even talked to you. Otherwise, staying profitable will be an uphill battle.

What are the odds of them coming back?
Are they serving a need that may generate more business for you? If you think so, then they are worth more of your time and energy to keep on working with them. I know that this economy is hard for businesses of all sizes, so we do not want to lose any potential sale, but it's critical to stick with those who will keep coming back for more. And no one knows your stuff better than you - you will be able to process quickly the situation and see how likely they will return for future business.

Will working with a hard customer limit you from being able to meet other customer's needs?
This will happen all the time - one particular customer takes up your precious time, making it hard to run your business, and meet other customer's needs. This could even take place at home when one of your kids stirs up trouble and demands all of your time. And when you have plenty of kids, you have to watch out for those moments and cautiously manage them and fix any errors. For a customer, see if their needs are sapping too much energy from your ability to serve other customers. If you think they are and the gain is minimal, you have to move on and cut your ties. If the gain is worthy, then you have a choice to make because if you are booked solid, you cannot help all your customers.

Do they bring in prospects?
This is something that should never be taken too lightly. A single customer - if you go that extra mile for them no matter how needy they are - will push a small business forward with referrals they bring in. Watch out for these opportunities, because no matter how difficult the customer is - if they can help you succeed with their friends who come onboard, too, then by all means put your heart into it.

Do they serve my overall business goals and mission statement?
Sometimes you have to think about the tough issues - is serving this difficult customer in tune with your business goals and mission statement? If you think they steer you in the wrong direction that does not match the plans for your business, then it's time to cut your ties. I know it is hard to say 'no' but if you are not benefiting, then you have to move on.

Do I have the resources and staff to make everyone happy?
And as a final point, take a look at your business to see if you have the right stuff to make everyone happy. This is sort of covered in previous points, but it does call for extra attention. Do you have the necessary staff to tackle customer service? If not, reorganize your workers or else no one will come out a winner. You must know what your limitations are.

Even though we say 'yes' to every customer, it's does not happen all the time. A few, we will never make happy. And others, we will never have the time and/or resources to complete the work for them - at least not anytime soon. Their needs are just too grand. You have to know your limitations and work with them while staying within your boundaries. Win the perfect customers and at the end of the day, you will be more productive and profitable for going the distance.