- Feb. 12
- Richard Parker
How Not to Burn Bridges With Difficult Clients
Part of running a company is negotiating with clients. Whether you need investment or sponsorship, or something else, you’re going to have to boost your client list. Unfortunately, they’re not always easy to deal with, mainly because every party wants what’s best for the individual.
At times like these, it’s tempting to say something that will burn that bridge forever. It’s not as if you’re going to speak to them again. However, the business has a funny way of biting you, so it’s essential to hold your tongue and stay on track.
These are the techniques that will help you achieve your aim.
Identifying who is going to be tough to deal with sounds like a breeze. In reality, not every problematic client will scream a tirade of abuse at you and burst a blood vessel. Some can be incredibly passive-aggressive, and others might be indecisive. Whatever their non-redeeming feature, it’s essential to identify the traits in advance so that you can prepare. With that in mind, you will want to remember that tough clients can manifest themselves in ways you’ve never experienced before, such as having to ask their boss about every decision. Another common one that goes under the radar is the client who thinks every project is straightforward.
Once you understand what makes them tick, it’s still not easy to stay calm. Sometimes, the realization can make it more infuriating, so the odds or a screaming match just got higher! The trick is to identify your triggers so that you are better able to negate the emotions as and when they pop-up. Then, you’ll want tools which help you maintain your poker face to avoid your body language from giving away the game. Leaving the room to scream into a pillow will ensure any harmful signals aren’t reflected at you by the client.
Listen & Offer a Solution
The entire process comes down to whether you can find a compromise that is suitable for both parties. To do that, you have to do more than being the bigger person; you must craft a solution, too. Any negotiation consulting firm will tell you that you’ve got to listen to their concerns. Otherwise, a compromise won’t reflect their interests, and they’ll dismiss it instantly. An excellent tip is to try and find a solution that they care about yet you don’t. That way, they’ll get the impression they won when you never conceded anything of value.
Know When to Quit
On infrequent occasions, a sit down with a client won’t result in positive negotiations. And, it wouldn’t if you continued to discuss terms for another week. These are the times when it’s imperative you cut your losses and end the meeting. Although it seems like a lost opportunity, all you can do is reconvene and wait for the client to touch base. Don’t worry about offending them as every interaction has a natural ending point.
Plus, they’ll be happy for negotiations to finish, too!