The warning signs of a difficult client
Everyone has that one customer that comes in and is just impossible to please. They tend to be impatient and very demanding. How can you manage a difficult client and keep them happy while also keeping your sanity? Here are some warning signs of a difficult client that will allow you to keep your business running while working with these individuals.
Tip # 1 - Watch for conflict
Some of the clients you interview and deal with are easy to spot that they are going to give you a headache. Keep your eye out for conflict with them as they often have some challenges you can spot right away like a short fuse in the meeting or interrupting you. Another big sign of conflict is when the client starts getting really demanding. They will set unrealistic expectations on you and also on your staff and it puts a lot of pressure on you. Remember that you are in control and the client needs to conform to your time constraints along with your limitations. Be upfront with them from the get-go and you will find it's a lot easier to get them under control and manage their difficult personality right away.
Tip # 2 - Failure to pay
A difficult client is one that doesn't want to pay and has a million excuses as to why they can pay later. Be strict with your payment expectations and hold them to them. One great method is to start getting people to pay up front as it will be able to help you get the initial order costs covered and then you can deal with collecting the rest. Companies that offer software service, lectures, and other services that don't actually have a physical transfer of products need to get a prepayment or the client will take what you offer and walk away. The downside for you is that you have an invoice by no physical evidence that you provided them with a service and they owe you money for it. All you need to do is establish a prepayment policy and then hold the client to it. Do not provide them with the service unless they pay.
Tip # 3 - Watch your emotions
Have you ever noticed that a difficult client will get under your skin and can cause your blood pressure to rise in a hurry? When you are dealing with difficult people, you need to keep your emotions in check. Remain calm and take a second just to breathe if they are screaming at you or acting bossy. Remind them that you are in control and get them to calm down. When they say something offensive or rude, you need to remain the adult and you can even ask them to speak professionally if their language is getting out of control. In the end, a rude client may not be worth it in the long run.
Tip # 4 - Get your contracts in writing
Since difficult clients can get demanding, it helps to get contracts in writing right away. You want to hold the clients to the contracts and make sure they aren't asking for things that aren't on the contracts. Pull out the contracts and refer to them if the clients start to get pushy and too demanding.
Tip # 5 - Have more than one client
One big client can really bolster your sales but you have to realize that one client isn't your lifeblood. Get out there and start searching for additional clients and find one that can generate the right type of revenue you need for your business and to have other clients to sustain your business if the large client begins to become demanding and difficult to deal with.