6 Tips For Dealing With Difficult Business Clients
When you’re working with clients there is inevitably going to be one or two that are difficult to deal with in some way.
Whether it’s a personality clash or expectations that don’t reflect their budget, how you deal with conflicts will have a direct impact on your business.
Working with clients that are challenging is part of business but with these six tips you can help minimise the disruption they cause and get their project delivered to a high standard.
1. Be very specific
If you’re struggling with a client one of the first things you should do is to ensure that you’re very specific on the measurable KPIs of the particular project.
Where ever possible document what has been agreed so that you can refer back to these notes if conflicts or disagreements arise.
2. Manage their expectations
One of the most common struggles with clients is the misalignment of expectations.
From the very beginning of working together, set out what they can expect for the money they’re spending.
If their expectations become out of line during the process, it’s important to address these as quickly as possible to reduce the trouble caused as a result.
3. Keep calm and remain in control
It might be difficult but remaining calm is essential.
Even when your client is becoming irate, you should maintain your professional appearance, helping you to remain in control.
Taking a proactive approach, such as suggesting meetings before they request one can help to keep a positive working relationship between the two of you.
4. Listen and advise
Much of the time when a client is complaining, they simply want you to listen.
Where possible, take a proactive approach to addressing their concerns, demonstrating that you’ve taken on board what has been said.
When this isn’t possible, explaining your suggestions or steps can help calm the waters and pave the way for creating a way forward that suits you both.
5. Create milestones for feedback
Give your client the feeling of being involved in the project and have their say.
Set up milestone points where you will listen to their feedback and talk through the next steps with them.
This method can also give you some breathing space as they’ll be less likely to contact you during the time in between.
6. Consider taking the loss
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, some working relationships simply cost you too much in resources that it’s best to cut ties.
Keep an eye out for red flags, such as asking for a discount or being vague about their brief, and don’t be afraid to turn away work that could actually end up losing you money.