If you are engaged in selling services, you will recognize yourself in the description of customer relations that cost more than they taste. Clients who take energy by being late with payments, who criticize work processes and results, while expecting to be the center of your universe.
It is easy to be tempted to just let them go, but even the most troublesome clients can be important for your business and sometimes it is worth biting into the sour apple and fighting further. But how do you do it? Acted revolves around business relationships and we have seen most of it. Here are some tricks to help you turn your worst clients into fruitful collaborations.
Choose your words
When discussing with customers, it is a good idea to keep in mind that some of the problems may be due to you talking past each other. Your business language and that of your clients may differ greatly and sometimes misunderstandings arise because you simply use different expressions to describe the same thing. If so, try mirroring the language of the counterpart and see if you can find common ground.
Sometimes we vent discontent in fuzzy terms. “Nothing works”, “everything just gets wrong” gives no greater insight as to what is the root of a problem. When your client gives that kind of criticism, it’s good to ask the person to be more specific and explain the dissatisfaction in concrete terms. It is a solution-focused approach that takes you further when you can discuss reasons and not just outcomes.
Listen, but do not agree to everything
Agreeing with the client may be the easiest way out, but it’s a solution that can mean shooting yourself in the foot because criticism that is misguided, or doesn’t work in practice, will come back over and over again. Always try to listen to what your clients say, but do not agree to everything and explain your side of the matter. Is the requirement unreasonable? Say it.
Focus on the big picture
Ensure that both of you are focused on the overall goal of cooperation. Then you can always refer to you actually moving in the right direction and avoid getting stuck in unimportant details. The tip is primarily applicable when consulting clients in business strategic matters. Rome wasn’t built over a day, it’s not business strategies either.
Use visual aids
Try other means of communication when you don’t understand each other. For example, be open to communicate via Skype instead of on the phone or e-mail. Then you can use visual aids like tables to explain your points effectively. Test yourself with different types of tricks and learn how to communicate best with each client.
Sometimes it is the chemistry that simply does not work, you are like water and oil. It takes a certain amount of self-awareness to realize that it is not only the client who is the problem. If you feel that way but still see great value in the business relationship, it’s a good idea to forward the customer internally. Offer good service by asking if it is someone else at the agency that they think would fit better.