The Professional’s Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Difficult Clients

by / ⠀Startup Advice / February 18, 2013

Client RelationsDealing with difficult clients is a complex skill to master because, whilst the company might be professional, the client isn’t necessarily the same. They might not care about the business’s needs and they might be just plain selfish. Learning how to deal with every client type is imperative for becoming the consummate professional within the cut-throat world of business. Read on to find out exactly how to deal with awkward clients.

Understand the Client’s Needs

Every organisation wants to get the most out of a potential deal. It’s a giant game of tactics and strategy because two parties have the same desire. But in order to accomplish more it’s necessary to understand exactly what the client wants. Don’t be afraid to relinquish on certain things that might not be as important, it could just be the tipping point on the part of the client. Furthermore, giving way now can come back to be a massive benefit in the future. Long and healthy client relationships will always lead to a prosperous future.

Meet Face-to-Face

People who sound awkward over the phone or through email can actually turn out to be incredibly nice people in person. If things just aren’t getting through via phone, email, or video conversations then organise a face-to-face meeting. This way everything can be laid down and the small business is making a conscious effort to get everything worked out.

It can also have the benefit of showing the company in a positive light as they are going that extra mile to make things perfect. Clients who see that the business really wants to give the go-ahead on that next big order or project are going to be a lot softer in tone than they would towards a company that doesn’t value them. Make an effort and make the first move. Don’t be afraid to offer to meet at a location of their choice. Put the time in now and it could pay dividends later on.

Time Taker

The time taker is a type of client that will constantly go over the same thing that was spoken about over the phone or over that last cup of coffee. They might not know that they are doing it, but most of the time it’s due to the fact that they are very cautious. One way around this is to write everything down in big lettering. Having a meeting where there’s a whiteboard can reveal a great visual aid for both client and company.

Another method is to simply assure them of the things they keep bringing up. In this case, it’s most likely because they are nervous about certain aspects. Reassure them and they won’t feel the need to bring these points up again.

Know When to Walk

Some clients are just not worth the hassle. If they have been reasoned with and they still don’t understand then don’t be afraid to just abandon the whole project. Working with a difficult client can just lead to stress and a lot of hassle. If running a small business isn’t fun then what’s the point of it?

This post is written by Miles Schmidt of Ochre House, the leading international partner for HR outsourcing and recruitment outsourcing (RPO).

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.