Tactics to Positively Overcome the Difficult Client
Irrespective of what industry you are in, there is always that odd difficult client that as a result of various factors can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, unmotivated and possibly even full of self-doubt. For some of us, the reaction to a difficult situation can be defensive for others it can be offensive which can have either positive of negative outcomes regardless.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to establish smart habits
The fact remains that there will always be clients that are a little harder to please than others, so the question at hand is, how do you handle those situations in a way that will have a positive outcome for both you and the client? Well, while in my previous role, I had done some research on the topic and I came across an article by Barbara Markway (Ph.D.) who has some excellent insight into handling difficult clients, which I will delve into a little further, but one of the factors she mentions amongst others is going about things in a way that may seem unnatural to you as first. What does this mean? Well simply put, we all have our ways of doing things, and sometimes it works other times it doesn’t but if your finding your not getting the outcome you want from a difficult situation – perhaps its time to step outside your comfort zone, try a new approach and create smart habits.
Some Tactics to be Used with the Client
Out of the many tips given in Barbara’s article, the following tactics on how to handle a difficult client stood out to me:
- Listen & Stay Calm. Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to feel heard, and although staying calm can be extremely difficult in an emotionally charged situation, real progress can’t take place until the other person feels acknowledged. While you’re listening, really focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next. I have often said to people in the past, “I know your hearing me, but are you listening to me? There is a difference”. Taking the time to really listening to what someone else is saying, can give you a fresh perspective and clarity on a situation at hand.
- Reflect respect and dignity toward the other person. You don’t know what the other person is going through. Chances are, if a person is acting unreasonable, they are likely feeling some sort of emotional or mental strain for whichever reason and showing contempt will not help productively resolve the situation.
- Saying, “I understand,” usually makes things worse. Instead, say, “Tell me more so I can understand better.” This for me was an interesting point, because I personally have often used the term “I understand” countless times with clients and looking back it wasn’t always well received, looking at this approach has given me a new perspective on how a client would possible react to the situation differently.
- Saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m going to try to fix this,” while establishing boundaries can go a long way toward defusing many situations. This tip can be quite difficult to follow when you feel your not the one in the wrong and are feeling defensive. Sometimes by being humble in the situation and saying the words “I’m sorry” or “I’m going to fix this” can completely diffuse a situation, and in turn can give you the opportunity to establish the hidden need. The client could end up disclosing what they are really trying to gain or avoid within the project/ task and positive outcome can take place for both parties. Having said that, you will also need to assess the situation, while some of the above tips have encouraged listening and letting the angry person vent, you also have the right to be assertive and say, “Please don’t talk to me like that.” if the situation is gets out of hand.
Some Tactics to be Used with Yourself
Handling a difficult client with some of the tactics, may be draining for you which would defeat the purpose of positively overcoming difficult clients, that’s what there are also a few things you should do:
- Debrief. After the situation is over, talk to someone about what happened, take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and just allow yourself to process the situation.
- Discharge your own stress. You had to put your natural reactions on hold for a while. Now is the time to discharge some of that pent-up adrenaline. Go for a run. Take your dog for a walk. Don’t let the emotions stay stuck in your body.
- Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy not to act like a jerk when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!
Positive Outlook, Positive Outcome
Remember these tactics are simply guidelines to help you along the way. How you implement these tactics is up to you, and maybe they won’t give you a positive outcome every time, but its all about trying and keeping at it until you establish smart habits that work for you. If you do not have the time or cannot see yourself dealing with difficult clients that’s ok, perhaps consider getting a VA to deal with your Client Relationship Management and can implement strategies for you! I have seen how these tactics have worked for me, and to this day some of the best connections and relationships that I have established in my career have been as a result of a rocky start with some pretty difficult clients. The key to all of this however is to always have a positive outlook, and having said this I will end with a quote by Lailah Akita “Our reaction to any situation will determine the outcome”
How self-love can make you more productive
Love yourself enough to add whitespace to your day and become the productivity guru that get things done!
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, employee or virtual assistant; we all fall into this trap more often than not. If you don’t know what whitespace is or don’t have whitespace in your day, you’re sacrificing your health, well-being and productivity in a major way. The solution to becoming a productivity guru is easier than you think; all you need is love!
#Love your health
This question is for my virtual assistant friends. Let’s examine our lunchtime health. Are you snacking at your desk? Just meaning to complete that one extra task. I mean an hour ‘wasted’ on lunch could have been a valuable contribution to your income at the end of the month, who can’t do with the extra 20 billable hours?
BUT…at what cost do that extra 20 hours come? You’re carving away at your vitality every day by ignoring the opportunity for increasing your energy and boosting your creativity.
I love this equation from WhiteSpace At Work!
“Lunch – Desk = Vitality”
Don’t eat at your desk! Get out of your office, breath in some non-artificial, non-airconditioned air. Notice the birds outside, notice the cloud formation that day, take a brisk stroll around the block – yes even if it’s 40 degrees outside, believe me, you’ll appreciate your office and desk that much more. Get the spider webs blown out of your mind, don’t spend this time strategizing the accomplishment of your next task. Create that whitespace in which to recharge so when you get back to your desk, it’s with a grateful attitude and a revitalized outlook on the challenges you’re trying to solve.
#Love your business workflow process
Starting out with another question… and be honest, this is definitely time to get real with ourselves. Are you overwhelmed with your business workflow process? Because you either don’t have one or you have one but it’s worth zero because you don’t follow it or it’s so complicated it wastes more time than saving time.
Well, friends, I think it’s safe to say you need to declutter your workflow. No one has the time to do damage control – all the time! You can’t afford to work on a reactive basis all the time! AND that’s exactly what we try and achieve. Every email that comes in has you dropping everything, losing your productive streak to reply to an email that could have waited half an hour. Believe me, emails aren’t the only culprits. You know that as well as I do.
What you want is to get to a point where your workflow process leans itself towards ultimate productivity. Creating whitespace between activities, the opportunity to breath and reflect is not a time waster, but should be seen as a “strategic pause in which you are infused with enthusiasm and creativity” for what you are passionate about. Don’t just go through the motions to get the job done. Love yourself enough to declutter your workflow to truly be productive and efficient.
We need to look after ourselves! Nothing is more true to me than the quote: “Less is more”. Simplify your life, simplify your workflow, love yourself and take care of your wellness. Don’t set yourself up for a love-hate relationship with your well-being and business. You deserve the best! You deserve to love yourself, your business and your life. Best of all, with a little bit of strategic whitespace in your life, you can become a productivity guru that not only get things done but excels at it!
Celebrating Everyday Heroes as a Daily Inspiration
“Celebrating the Women in your Life in Honour of Women’s Month” WOW, what a topic.
There are many Women in my life both alive and the dearly departed that have made a huge impact on my life and impact of the direction that my life has taken.
The woman who made the most impact in my life
Let’s begin with the most amazing Women that has made the biggest impact, my Mom.
What a truly remarkable, inspirational and caring person she was. My Mom brought me into this world and taught me the value of life, love, happiness and most importantly time. My Mom always used to say, “make the most of every second in your life, every second that has been wasted on the trivial matters in life and things that don’t matter is a second you will never get back”.
My Mom taught me the value of work ethic, the value of working hard in life for what you want. Nothing gained in life is for free. What you put in, is what you get out! Remember what your mother taught you, it came from the most sacred place of love that exisits.
The reason I get up in the morning
Then I have my daughter and granddaughter. What a combination these two angels are. These two angels are SO special to me. The tinkle in my eye, the reason I get up in the morning and the reason that I live life to the full.
The biggest blessing one could ever hope for is too be able to bring a child into this world. Melissa, my daughter, is such a wonderful young lady, she has brought SO much joy and happiness into my life. She works hard, focuses on the important things in life.
I truly see so much of my Mom in her. Melissa is such an inspiration to me. I am SO very proud to be able to call her my daughter.
Then we have little Mia, Mia has taught me the biggest lesson of all, LOVE, LOVE and more LOVE. Just when you thought you couldn’t love someone any more than you do, along comes a grandchild. Have you noticed the admiration they have in their eyes when they look at you and everybody around you? So much love.
How does a child spell L O V E ……. They spell it T I M E! My little Princess, your Nanny is SO lucky to have you in her life. I am constantly amazed by your beauty and the love that you portray for the little things in life.
If I could turn back the clock to when my kids were much younger, there are so many things that I would do differently. First and most important of all, I would spend more quality time with my kids. Embarking on adventures together and loving life. When my kids where younger I found that I spent far too much time working and I kept telling myself that I was doing this FOR them.
The Entrepreneur that inspires me the most
The next lady that has come in too my life, teaches and challenges me on a daily basis. I mention her now, but not last as in order of importance, Karen Wessels. Karen has taught me the value of doing what you love and doing it with all your heart. Such an inspirational lady. Karen has brought back into my life the importance of why I do what I do and to love, grow and feel challenged by what we do in our lives. Walking alongside her is such an honour.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the very special Women who have made an impact in my life. I love you all SO much!!
I stick by the philosophy in life, “Do What You LOVE, in order to LOVE What You Do!” Take time to smell the roses for want of a phrase.
You only have ONE life, LIVE IT!
VA Connect has a team of Virtual Assistants just waiting to be of service to you, to lighten your load! To FREE up some of your time!
Being a woman is a superpower. Let’s celebrate this!
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fall. Failure is another stepping stone to GREATNESS – Oprah Winfrey.”
To all the queens in my life, and to the queens of this world! Do you know why we are celebrating women’s month? I didn’t….
So we “have” Women’s Month as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched the Union Building on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women.”
I know the Women’s in my life weren’t part of that, probably not yours either. However, Women needs to be honoured, we need to celebrate womanhood!
“Being a woman is a superpower”
To my granny – being selfless, and giving up what she wanted.
My Grandmother would have turned 95 a few days ago, can you imagine what their lives have been like? In her young days? What has she gone through? She had 5 other siblings, she was very young when her mother passed. She had to eventually start working when she was 13 years old to help care for the family. She mostly did needlework for the wealthy peoples’ towels, blankets and clothes with her initials. I have yet not met someone else, who is so kind and selfless. She always gave and never wanted anything in return.
“The world needs strong women. Women who will lift & build others. Who will love & be loved. Women who live lavely, both tender a fierce. Women of indomitable will.”
To my mom,
To the woman who loves me unconditionally, who always puts us before herself. To my mother who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. She is patient, she is selfless.
She is the strongest woman I know, having to put our wants and needs before herself. Having courage when we were scared, even if she was scared she never showed. Teaching us that even if we don’t know what is next, to step forward with grit anchored in grace. My mom is my superhero, being able to juggle life, a job, a husband, three children, a household. Not too long ago, she had to start doing all of these alone, and here she stands still strong and fierce.
To all the other woman in my life, my sisters, my mother in law’s, my work colleagues and clients. For being strong, for fighting for what you want in life, for fighting your rights as a woman. To never being afraid.
This month, I will be celebrating all the woman in my life. For us still facing the hurdles of being a woman and being under-appreciated. Celebrating the strength and courage our ancestors passed on to us. We are forged through all the challenges in life, however, we move through these challenges with our heads held high. We are mom’s, we are wives, we have careers, we are cooks, we are maids, we are sisters, daughters. With these multitudes of roles we have in life, we are independent, strong, confident, loving and kind.
“When life gives us a challenge we wink at it and say bring it on.”
This month, we celebrate “womanhood”. In any age, a woman is to be loved, to be admired, to be loved and honoured for all we are and all we do.
This Female Entrepreneur inspired me the most. This is why.
I have this friend that’s not the “norm”. She comes from an agricultural family, learned quickly from experiences and people, and eventually started her own PRO company. She has entrepreneur written all over her. It must be something that she got from her parents who were always changing, learning and developing different infrastructure in the agricultural sector.
Today her PRO company (www.yolandidewetpr.co.za) consults for many clients. When you ask her what she does, she says she works with her client in building and loving their brand as much as they do, but also gets the media and public to take notice.
When I think of her I think wizz-kid, beautifully explained as” a young person who is outstandingly skillful or successful at something”.
What about her made her so special that everyone took notice
After working for 4 years under a great mentor, she realized that she had an opportunity to go on her own, as many clients boosted her to try it out. She used her skills and abilities to start her own business and attributes her success to the following:
Being a team player and keeping an open mind
My friend knows that she will not always agree on the marketing route her client is taking, but always strive to give objective and honest feedback about new media coverage that will suite the clients products and abilities. Even if her client do not always see the value of a certain coverage, she always keeps a middle ground and do not get offended quickly. And if she does get offended and angry, in her own words: “I will cry in my pillow when no one sees”.
Always be honest
Honesty is a part of my friends being. Honesty builds trust, and trust helps any company grow. Her clients believe she will always be honest when giving feedback of the brand and getting new work in for brand building. She believes her clients will trust in the direction she steers a brand. When this trust relationship does not exist, demotivation, lack of work ethic and low performance is on the forefront.
Always ALWAYS be respectful towards your client
She believes respect is learned from an early age but can also be learned and practiced as an adult. Not only in the work place, but also your daily life these golden rules can be lived by.
A respectful person is:
- On time (let your client always know if you are going to be late)
- Use good manners and speak in a respectful language
- Have tolerance and be considerate
- Deal peacefully and open-mindedly with disagreements and anger
Learn to say no
Just like being honest and respectful, saying no is a skill that must be learned. It is tempting to always say yes when building your own business. Having too much on your plate can lead to low productivity. Time can be managed and only you know how much you are capable of doing and achieving in one day. The skill in saying no is helping your client understand that you cannot do something now, but you will be able to give a good alternative.
Inspired and motivated by my friend, pushed and helped me to start my own business. When my idea for my business formed she was the first person I phoned for advice. I knew that her advice will be valuable, so I took it to heart. Even if something in your mind does not work, does not mean someone else will see it that way. Push through the obstacles but always learn from them. And when you make a mistake, say sorry and move on. Choose your clients with an open mind and of the same values. And remember, trust your gut, YOU’VE GOT THIS.