You will inevitably encounter some difficult clients in your career. It might make you wonder if the event planning business is for you.
But here are 7 ways difficult clients might make you a better event planner.
Your Communication Skills Improve
If all clients were agreeable, then you would never exercise your communication skills. Nothing puts your communications skills to the test like a difficult client. The demands from a difficult client will cause you to adjust the way you communicate.
You will learn how to actively listen to the client’s needs. You will be less in your thoughts or waiting to respond. This is because you know you need to understand where your client is coming from. It is all about engaging them so that they feel they are being taken seriously.
Difficult clients help you to simplify your message and to stick to it. You will also be aware that your body is sending signals too. You will make a conscious effort to maintain a polite and professional posture. You will also be watching your client for visible signs that they are feeling upset.
You Can Put Yourself in Another’s Shoes
Many times, event planners do not think of their client’s perspective. A client might seem to be “difficult” because they had certain expectations that aren’t being met.
Dealing with difficult clients will help you try to see things from their point of view. Everyone has something going on in their lives. Most likely, your client is under pressure to have the perfect event.
Thus it is important to empathize with your client. Recognize their emotions and the reasons behind them. The emotions your client is expressing can tell you a lot.
They can say if you are coming toward a solution or if you need to tread more cautiously. But always be accepting of their interpretation of the situation. This does not mean that you agree.
It means that you are changing your perspective to come up with a solution that will please both parties.
You Think on Your Feet Faster
Difficult clients can come at you with almost every problem under the sun. And you better be able to provide an answer to all their questions. The more you practice adapting to their demands, the better you will become.
And part of this skill will come from having a general preparedness. When you deal with difficult clients, you will be more aware of what can go wrong and what to expect. Thus, you would prepare yourself for those eventualities.
Of course, you will never be able to predict every outcome. When an unfamiliar situation arises, take a moment to understand it and then refocus on your key goal. This will help to ground you so that you can put forward a solution.
You Become More Patient
Whoever said patience is a virtue never dealt with a disgruntled event-planning client. Tapping into your inner Gandhi is easier said than done when dealing with difficult people but it is a must.
Losing your cool only exacerbates the problem. It will not only hurt your client relationship but it could hurt your reputation. Once you have improved in the first three areas, the extra patience will come more naturally.
You Learn to Manage Expectations
Difficult clients come into your office with unrealistic expectations from the onset. It’ll only take one bad experience with a difficult client to make you buck up on managing future clients’ expectations.
Whenever you meet with your client, ensure that your set goals. It is important to redirect your discussions to these goals. Make it clear how you go about doing business and what will happen if any plans change.
You learn to promise less instead of promising more. On top of that, you will add even more to your communication skills.
You will be continuously communicating all plans, outcomes, changes, and progress.
You Tighten Up Your Tools
One thing is for certain, a difficult client will make you dot your I’s (once they don’t make you gouge them out) and cross your t’s even more carefully.
Your future contracts will be very specific. They will clearly outline what your services include and what they don’t. It will also speak to what will happen if you and your client are unable to continue the relationship.
Also be transparent about the reasons that can lead to a change in scope or termination.
You will learn to use more measurable data. If your client is being extra difficult, you will have information to back up your opinions. The information can also show them your value.
You, Will, Learn How to Say No
In the past, you may have given in more easily to a client’s unrealistic demands. You may have thought that you can’t afford to lose their business. But the more difficult clients you come across, the easier it will be to say no.
The extra time, money and stress are not worth it. You don’t need to take on every challenge. You will know when it is time to cut your losses and move on.
It is never easy to deal with difficult clients. But as this list shows, you can approach the situation from a different perspective. You will see that those difficult experiences helped you learn valuable lessons. You will see that they also helped you to improve your services.
So what do you think? Is there any other way difficult clients helped you improve? Share in the comments!