How To Deal With Difficult Clients

by: Crystal Nicole Soto | Multimedia Designer/Content Writer for Event Planners Association | November 29, 2016 By:

In business, one of the most challenging things to deal with is a difficult client; particularly the ones who are never satisfied – continually changing the game as the relationship progresses.

This type of scenario can easily place a well versed entrepreneur on the defensive. However, allowing the difficulty of a person to effect your emotions ultimately effects your negotiations. So, while it is natural to lose motivation for working with this person; sticking it out requires a strategy, self-restraint and the ability to keep control in the relationship. As an business professional you must learn when to be hard and when to be soft in conflict.

Here are our 7 tips:

1. Listen patiently

While easier said than done, it is important to remain calm and soft when dealing with a difficult client. The natural reaction is to return force with force. However, doing so only blocks negotiation – instead, allow them to talk themselves out. Amidst their frustration, most will vocalize their key wants and concerns – be sure to listen to these and reinforce trust with your client by repeating what they say.

2. Show empathy

When you show empathy the client feels that you are more attuned to their needs and that you understands their concerns. You can demonstrate empathy through eye contact, body language and verbal cues that show engagement.


3. Speak soft but be firm 

When a client is irate, be quiet.

Don’t internalize what is being said, and don’t take it personal. Rather, be alert and when there is a break in the aggression attempt to lower their voice by speaking soft but firm. Demonstrate a sense of control, that shows there’s no emergency.


4. You’re On Stage

Imagining there are other people in the room observing your interaction completely changes the emotional dynamic and allows you to maintain control. You would never want your clients to see you as anything less than stellar.


5. Be wrong to be right

If nothing that you do or say can satisfy this customer, then use the strategy of agreement. It’s a natural behavioral mechanism that when a person is allowed to win that they will start to be more open to what they were fighting against.

This strategy helps makes difficult clients more open to negotiating because now they feel like the negotiation will be on their terms as they are more in sync with your position.

6. Be emotionally in control

Emotions are contagious. Rather than reacting, train your mind to evaluate the situation. This allows you to stay calm and de-escalate the customer’s confrontation.


7. It’s not personal.

When dealing with an unsatisfied client, remind yourself that this is a business issue NOT a personal one. Stick to the facts and stay firm. The reality is your client knows very little about you on a personal level, so keep this in mind when guiding the conversation.

Also, remember you are interacting with human beings not superpowers. Your greatest strategy is to know your own emotions and have knowledge of others. When you are able to read a person you have the advantage. Like a game of chess, you know what their next move will be.

Remember the power in remaining calm, flexible, patient and mindful.