A Golden Advice
If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.
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Difficult clients can be quite challenging to any business team, man or project. However, dealing with difficult clients is unavoidable if you want to expand your business and earn money, plus it is a must we all need to deal with regularly or at some point of our career.
However, before we can go any further discussing solutions and ways to deal with such clients, let us look at what are the characteristics of “difficult clients” and how they behave!
Difficult clients characteristics
A difficult client and difficult person behaviours are not far from each other when it comes to dealing with such people.
A difficult person is someone who is seeking attention and his motivation is feeling important and to see the power of his words and comments affect other’s actions and behaviours when he is around. “Creating an atmosphere of uncertainty, gives him a sense of importance”.
A difficult person is not necessarily rude to other people, but more likely manipulative, creating an atmosphere of disagreement and uncertainty. With such a person, it is likely that his motivations will go unnoticed by many. A confrontation with such a character will only put you in a very difficult position if we are talking about such a scenario at a work place.
A difficult client will usually win such a reputation if he puts an employee in a stressful position, demanding to get what he wants NOW!
So having won such a title, some clients will continue behaving in such a difficult way 1) liking the way people fuss around him 2) enjoying the attention 3) feeling superior over the other employees and a sense of importance.
There are many reasons why certain clients are difficult. However, today we will only be looking at ways and ideas that can help you learn and master the art of handling difficult people, turning stressful situation with any client to your advantage.
Now, let us list some of the behaviours difficult clients present:
Bully, loud, rude, and self-centred; know it all, stubborn, whining and the most common character is ignorant about the job but still wants to have a say and decide what needs to be done. Does this sound familiar to you?!
As I have mentioned many times before in previous articles, ambitious people in Business no matter what rank they hold, need to work on and develop their abilities to read people and circumstances around them. Having said that, the level you need to achieve will depends on your interest you have in developing that professional/personal side of you and the level of interaction you have with clients.
However difficult your client is remembering that he hired you for your expertise and therefore he/she needs you. Do not be put down by their bad attitude and rude remarks, they are uncertain of what is going on (most likely they invested heavily in the project) and they need reassurance even if they get it by performing such unnecessary drama every time they appear or call.
- The first step you need to achieve is become a great observer. Look at your client in the eye, show understanding to their needs, and give them full attention. It is also good to practice to become good listener, and not only nodding your head without paying attention to what is being said. Soon after you will realise how easy it is to understand people once you apply those simple rules into your every communication you have with your client.
- Improve your Business Communication: if you are selling a product or even an idea or a service, you need to be of course completely knowledgeable about what you are talking about. However, you need to use your observations applied together with your exceptional communication skills to directly answer what your clients want to know, and avoid at all costs going through almost every other thing apart from what they really want to know.
Of course as a professional you have the urge and the need to show you knowledge and demonstrate your expertise. But, “all in good time” is a good advice to take into consideration. Rushing things is not advisable especially with uncertain clients and those other clients who are weary of becoming yet another victim of smart professionals who wants to offer them a bad deal.
It is extremely important to work on building trust between you and your client especially if you are going to see them regularly.
Wanting a good relationship with your clients should not let you avoid showing your authority as a professional.
Achieving this is not difficult if you have planned your work and communication strategies with your client from the start. Authority does not mean be rude and arrogant in your dealing with other people (which I often see happen unintentionally with many professionals). Authority can be achieved by showing your good organisational, communication skills and more importantly your clarity and openness in your work.
• Make sure you document and save every correspondence you have with your client; this can prove to be useful if a problem occur in the future.
• Also another useful tip is to set up a protocol with your client on the ways of communication and how frequent are they. Make sure that you follow your own protocol with all your clients otherwise this will not work and you might end up having a call everyday from your client asking about the progress of the project.
• Insure your client is up to date with the project’s progress or any difficulties for this matter. But also make sure that at all times present your leadership skills by not giving your clients doubts and sleepless nights about the project’s stability. Provide your client with several options on how you are going to solve a problem, also explain in simple details what your feelings and ideas about the best solution. At the end do not let your client sense any fear or worries that you have and keep your tone of voice “as a matter of fact”!
In the end our advice will be is to keep your ambitions within reach. It is great to grab an opportunity and think big. However, it is more important that you know exactly the risks you will be running taking a big job onboard. Insure that you think through of your priorities as well as both the benefit and the down side of any new project that you are on the verge of taking on. Remember that sometimes it is safer to refuse a deal, than accept a challenge that you can’t stand up to and in return might bring you down as a business.