How to build strong relationships with your difficult clients

How to build strong relationships with your difficult clients

I’ve got a very useful talent – I know how to read people. It’s something I’ve discovered over the years whilst working with people in different industries and different places in the corporate hierarchy.

How does this tie in with what I promised you in my headline?  Well it’s the only thing you need to do to learn to love your difficult client.

There’s a fine line between sucking up to a client and knowing what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Here are some tips to help you read your client and make the experience of working with you the best they’ve ever had:

  1. Learn your client’s way of working. If your client rates communication at the top of their list when it comes to any project or work related issue, be a communicator. Find out the frequency they require you to check in with them and do it. Even if you don’t like it very much, you’ll get over it soon enough and it’ll become part of your daily routine. It can even be sending emails everyday. A lot of potential clients in our world are very skeptical about sending their confidential info to someone they’ve never met in person before. By showing them you can accommodate them in the way they need you to is very reassuring and will give them peace of mind.
  2. “What would your client do?” is something you should always think about when faced in a situation where you’re unsure if you’re doing the right thing. If you’ve worked with someone long enough you could already have an idea of what your client would do in certain situations and act accordingly. This will show them that you are trustworthy enough to steer the ship when they’re not around.
  3. Give 200% of yourself to win them over. I know, it sound exhausting to be the best you can be in everything all the time but giving that extra little bit of oomph will set your client at ease and he or she will become your best friend.  By doing things the way they want it done (a 10 page report instead of just a one page summary that would’ve done the trick) you earn you’re client’s trust and respect. Hopefully it’s not necessary and it’s given to you from the start, but I know from experience that sometimes you just have to shut up and show up.

In all honesty, some people are just not a right fit. If you find that this client is not worth the stress and the bending backward all the time, it might be better to let them go. There are very tactful ways to tell a client that you are not a good fit for them and that you think they will be better of with another professional to handle their needs. I hope my tips will help you persevere and improve your relationship with you client. There will still be days where you want to run and hide, just remember every cloud has a silver lining and it’s up to you to find it!