Last week we talked all about the types of difficult clients you might encounter in your business. You can read that here. Today we are going to dive deeper and talk about how to deal with each type of client.
Indecisive/Committee Decision Makers
The main thing to figure out when dealing with indecisive clients is to figure out what exactly is their concern. Is it price, trust in hiring, quality, quantity? Once you know their real issue you can speak to that and help move them toward a decision. You can also offer value-added time-sensitive bonuses to help them decide. If you cannot move them to a yes or no, evaluate if they are a serious prospect. Some people will never decide so you will have to make it for them and move on.
Everything is on Fire/911
There will always be times with every client that something needs to be done ASAP or there is an emergency, but for this type of client, EVERYTHING is an emergency and needs to be done yesterday. The only way to work with these clients is to manage expectations at every turn. Offer clear delivery dates for the work you are doing and when they want to add anything to your plate let them know when it will be completed. If you manage expectations it gives them peace of mind and a date they can rely on for delivery.
Know it All
Someone who thinks they know everything will respond well to being complimented on their knowledge. Compliment their knowledge about your offerings in a sincere way. Don’t argue why they are wrong and why you are right, this will only make things worse. Instead, offer examples/education about why something is different than what they think. Have a conversation and allow the know-it-all to leave with their ego intact and they will respond positively to you and your offerings.
Bargain shoppers can be very difficult. They do not want to pay your price and will look for any way to garner a discount or reduce the offering and pay less for it. Some of these types of clients will never hire you because they only look at price, not value. The best way to deal with these types of clients is to ask for a budget range, offer a list of options and highlight the ones in their price range. Don’t discount to get this type of client because it sets a precedent that you do not want to deal with for the life of the contract.
Clients who do not have boundaries can be the most frustrating, so you need to take a very firm line. Have all of your policies clearly stated on all your contracts, welcome packets, and any other onboarding materials you have. If the client breaks a policy, respond within the parameters of your regulations. For example, if you state that unless it is an emergency you do not respond to emails outside of business hours and the client email you looking for something on a Saturday, so not respond until business hours on Monday. Also, make sure you set clear expectations and manage the expectations of the client. This helps being bombarded with requests.
Dealing with a bully client can be intimidating. They tend to be more aggressive and push you toward their agenda above your company policies. The best way to deal with this type of client is through adherence to strong policies/rules/procedures and staying calm in all interactions. In many situations a bully client gets their way by being the loudest one in the discussion, do not engage in that sort of behavior. If a client has a “problem,” you can apologize and ask for specific ways you can fix it.
If a bully client cannot be satisfied it may be time to cut them loose. You do not want the ongoing headache of these aggressive interactions. On the other hand, if you can get this type of client to the point that they trust and respect you and your work they can end up being a very loyal and long-term client.
Difficult clients will happen in your business and if you can deal with them in an effective manner you can either clear them off your client roster or manage their behavior and turn them into great clients.