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The Psychology of High-Paying Clients

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Making Money Online, Money

He wanted everything for free.

It was the summer of 2013. I was starting out as a writer and took on a ghostwriting client. He needed LinkedIn content.

We hopped on a call. He seemed like a nice guy. He wore one of those red-checkered farmer shirts and resided in Tennessee.

His Southern charm hypnotized me. If he were the opposite gender, we would’ve made love on a haystack. Like with all customer relationships, it started out well.

He made the first payment with no issues. He sent me his brief. I did a discovery call, and he told me an interesting life story.

Two weeks in, things started to get scary.

He began sending random emails late at night. He sent me conspiracy theory links and Alex Jones rah-rah talks. I didn’t understand what this had to do with the LinkedIn ghostwriting but I played along.

We agreed to five LinkedIn posts a week. But soon he started asking me to write his newsletter. Then he wanted me to rewrite his website copy. Then he needed help writing sales emails for his product launch.

He wanted me to do everything… all for a few hundred dollars a week.

I started pushing back. He didn’t like it. He’d blow up at me, then the next day he’d apologize. Sometimes we’d do a Zoom call and he’d have empty beer bottles on the table.

It became clear he was an alcoholic.

I signed a contract with the devil. The guy had no money and it became clear his social media was a sham. I tried to let him go gently.

He wouldn’t have it. He threatened to tell everyone on social media that I stole from him.

I was terrified.

Cancel culture meant my writing career could’ve been over. Then I spoke to my mentor one night. He said “just stop doing his work, block him on email and social media, and never talk to him again.”

So I did. He never replied. He never made good on his threats.


Some customers are little terrors running around in nappies.

If you’ve owned a business or worked for one, you’ve probably met a few. There are three classes of lead:

  1. Cheap customers
  2. Normal customers
  3. High-Paying client.

The goal is to get the third type if you want to earn a nice living. Here’s how to spot them.

They want to save time

You can figure out anything by yourself.

You can do trial and error for 5 years, which is what I did when I started writing. But it wastes precious years of your life. Some of us are old and don’t have long to live. And some of us could get cancer tomorrow and die.

High-paying clients understand this and want to save time. They love paying someone to help them and achieve their goals faster. Cheap customers don’t value their time.

Their focused on deals, and getting free stuff.

One way to never attract cheap clients is to never do specials, discounts, or coupon codes. Their cheap psychology prevents them from working with you if you don’t play these games.

They want to spend money to make money

Nothing in life is free.

Cheap clients are focused on price. They see everything as an expense. You’re basically stealing from them and they’re trying to decide if they’ll let you.

High-paying clients are programmed to see spending money as an investment with an ROI. They think of it like buying stocks or real estate.

You can’t make money from investing in Tesla’s stock if you don’t own their stock, right? The same applies to products and services. You can’t expect an ROI if you don’t spend money and take a small risk.

Expecting an ROI at no cost is what overnight success chasers want.

They think someone will magically discover them and they’ll get lucky. That Jesus will also show up every day and work for them and pay them for the privilege. The real world doesn’t work like this.

Find customers who love to spend money to solve problems. If they won’t spend money to solve a problem, it’s either a fake problem or they’re broke.

They love financial accountability

Whenever I ran free trainings in the past, most people never showed up.

Why? Because it’s free. There was no reason to show up. If I did it free once I’d probably do it free again. Most free stuff is garbage so the assumption is if it’s free it must be terrible.

But when I ask people to pay $100 to show up they have a radically different mindset. They pay attention to my every word. They take notes. They’re early to the session. They give a damn. They ask questions.

High-paying clients love to spend money because it keeps them accountable to follow through and get the benefit.

If it costs you nothing you feel nothing.

They’re comfortable to take a risk

Cheap clients see risk everywhere.

They’re skeptical as hell and they blame you for it. “There’s a lot of scams on the internet, you know.” Their doomer mindset is your problem.

You’re supposed to make them feel safe and warm, and wrap them in a blue blanky so they can suck their thumb and drink warm soy milk like a baby.

They need money-back guarantees and promises. One prospective client recently asked me if my program could make them $100K in 30 days. They tried to twist my arm to make them believe.

I told them no and didn’t let them join.

Out of whack expectations turn into nuclear war customer disputes. High-paying clients are the opposite.

Last year I offered a product for $10,000. One client got the email, said “I’d like to proceed,” then messaged 10 minutes later to say “all paid.”

This is a classic high-paying client. They do their research and they know there’s a small risk in everything, but they still go ahead.

Avoid non-risk takers and skeptics.

They want direct access

In my business, there are mass-market products and offers that have direct access to me.

I’ve found high-paying clients see the value in 1–1 coaching and getting personalised feedback. They know it costs more but they know it’s better than generalized help.

Cheap clients either want me to be their free mentor or they think my time costs $5 an hour (a quick google search shows I earn more than that).

A 26 year old friend of mine wanted to grow a massive social media audience. Instead of do courses he paid a well-known writer $10,000 to get his entire blueprint.

They ended up becoming good friends and living together in a shared house. That’s what can happen when you pay for intimacy. He’s now built a massive audience in less than year.

How?

He had pros helping him because he spent big for their time (even though he was broke and grew up in a trailer park).

Paying for the VIP treatment is smarter.

They want an operating system

Cheap customers I’ve dealt with want advice. It’s based on hope and the desire for shortcuts.

High-paying clients want an operating system. They want to know a simple system they can use to solve a problem that they’ll stick to. They want the detail. They want to go beyond the surface level.

Choose clients who value details.

They don’t need you to hold their hand all the time

Cheap clients can’t think for themselves. They need their hand held. They need you to do everything. They treat you like their employee.

High-paying clients appreciate they will need to make decisions and take some of the actions, even if it’s a done-for-you service.

They’re willing to do the work because they’re serious.

When they need to email something to you or review a contract, they just do it without messing around and complaining.

Do this to attract high-paying clients

  • Add in VIP tiers
  • Have a 1–1 offer
  • Highlight the ROI of the offer
  • Use simple, professional language
  • Don’t use “buy me a coffee” links
  • Get leads from platforms like LinkedIn
  • Make the core offer clear. Explain extras cost more.
  • Remove all the fluff and overpromises from your offer
  • Stay clear of asking people to “donate” to your Patreon
  • Write on social media to get leads instead of buying ads
  • Pay attention to how luxury brands market, and steal some of their copywriting.
  • Never mention discounts or coupons. Consider not even offering bonuses.

To save more time, avoid replying to emails that say these things:

  • Is this expensive?
  • Can you do it cheaper?
  • What’s your best offer?
  • What about if I buy two?
  • This competitor has this offer? (price shopper)

Final Thought

It costs the same time and effort to find cheap customers as it does high-paying ones. You may as well focus on high-paying clients and make more money, so you can live the good life in Miami with a cigar in your mouth.

Do you hate cheap clients?

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