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”
Using New Year’s Resolutions to embrace 2019 and become the best you!
Can you believe 2019 if finally here? It’s been a long and exciting 2018, but as all good things, this too has come to an end. It’s time to reflect on things that helped shape us and brought us were we are today but it’s also time for new things so you can make 2019 just as memorable, and more importantly a huge success.
I don’t have a long list of new year’s resolutions. I don’t trust myself to keep with them and hate disappointment. So three things tops my list this year and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up.
My 2019 strategy
In 2019 I will be working harder towards my health. My health journey started in August 2018, took a plunge in December and I’m picking it up again in Jan. I’m not only talking about physical health but mental health as well. Healthy body, healthy mind. Looking after your mental health is vital as it affects every aspect of your life, social, family and career. I plan on working on my focus and my planning abilities. I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet but I guess that’s part of the journey. I’ve already started getting some tools together like my shiny new 2019 diary, I’ve used the Headspace app before for meditation and realized that I don’t even have 5 minutes of peace and quite in my house… I’ll try and pick that up again. I’m also reading Getting Things Done by David Allan. I’ve only heard great things about him and this book so hopefully I’ll be able to implement his strategies into my own work-life balance.
The second resolution is to be a better human being. Upskilling yourself is so easy, all you need is the will power and the drive (the time as well but if you have enough drive, you will make the time). I’ve planned out 12 courses I want to take this year to help me broaden my skillset. They range from digital marketing to nutrition (bonus because it helps with resolution number one). I’ve had the same resolution last year and only managed to complete one. It feels as though I stumbled into and through 2018 but with some help I’m sure I’ll be able to master the goal this year.
Finally, yet importantly, the easiest resolution… To make a bucket list and start ticking of some stuff I’ve always wanted to do but have never gotten to. The idea is to get out in the world and make yourself heard. I’m sure that finally visiting that networking event or contacting that client will boost my career in the right direction.
The New Year is usually a time to reflect but also a time for new things, a fresh start, a blank slate. Why not take it with both hands and embrace this gift you get to open each year and become the best you that you can possibly be!
Follow these great benefits to improve your blogging
Blogging can help drive internet traffic to your website. A blog gives you the chance to create original and relevant content to your customers, which can be a tactic to drive traffic to your website.
Blogging also helps your SEO or Search Engine Optimization. By consistently putting out new content in your blogs, you boost your rankings in different search engines, making you and your business more visible on the internet. You can also include various keywords, topics, and categories that you want to be found with your business when you write your blog. That way, when someone searches something related to that word or phrase, you will come up in earlier in search engines.
Blogs are no longer just an expression of an individual or a platform to share one’s ideas and thoughts. Blogs have started to be one of the most influential and useful tools in the market space. It’s an excellent way to showcase thought leadership as well as keep consumers updated on what’s happening in the company
Companies that maintain a blog seek:
- Brand awareness and visibility
- Authority and trustworthiness
- Site traffic and higher SEO ranking
- Leads and sales
The 4 benefits of blogging
Blogging drives traffic to your website
The content you create for your blog can be shared on all your social media platforms. If it’s good-quality, valuable information, people will be encouraged to click through to your website to learn more about your products and services.
Blogging can increase your SEO
If you use keywords in your blog posts, you can enhance your organic search results. Search engines use content to help them determine the subject of web pages. By continually adding fresh content to your site, you make it easier for these search engines to index your page correctly.
Blogging establishes you as an industry authority
Sharing industry information with your customers is the perfect way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. It sets you up as a leader in your field while giving you the opportunity to market your product or service in a subtle way. With a blog post you can simultaneously educate your customers and provide them with useful information about your business.
Blogging helps you build a community
Your blog provides your customers with a place to ask questions, share opinions and engage with you. This makes it the ideal place to build a loyal following. All the comments remain on your site permanently, which means that new visitors will be able to see them. Compare this to social media where any posts or comments are quickly lost in the ever changing newsfeed.
A blog is much more than a way to share information and ideas. It is also a marketing tool and a very powerful one at that. If you have yet to start a blog, it’s never too late to get started. There’s really no excuse why you shouldn’t start one today, whether it’s a business, corporate, or a personal blog. Somewhere out there, someone is waiting to hear from you.
Finding inspiration from this strong businesswoman
It was no easy feat choosing a Woman Entrepreneur that has inspired me the most. There are so many wonderfully successful women these days and they all inspire me constantly. Consistently it is their drive and perseverance together with a passion for what they do that leads to their success.
The journey of Maria Ramos
Maria Ramos is one of these women that really inspires me personally. As a South African, I am so proud of what South African women are achieving.
Maria moved to South Africa as a child from Portugal. She studied at University of Witwatersrand and gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. As a student she heard about a men-only scholarship offered by Barclays Bank, where she worked as a clerk and she herself lobbied for the prize and won!
Maria worked in banking and finance and taught Economics. I graduated with a major in Economics and have a passion for investment banking myself. So.. Maria’s drive and ascent in her career have been a source of inspiration for me.
Maria worked in banking and finance, she taught Economics, and served as an economist for the African National Congress’s Department of Economic Planning. In 1996, she was appointed the country’s Director General of Finance. Here she worked closely with Finance Minister Trevor Manuel whom she married in 2008. These two people effectively guided South Africa toward a free market economic model.
In 2004 she moved to Transnet, on operator of ports and shipping, bus and other passenger transit systems, rail systems and fuel transport lines. This seems an unlikely choice, but the sheer size of the firm and its monopoly on transportation within South Africa, allowed her an opportunity to transform the country’s economy by reorganizing one of its most inefficient and debt-ridden companies. She was CEO and embarked on a campaign of privatization. Unions resisted and there were strikes, but she persevered. In 2009 she moved from Transnet to ABSA as CEO.
Maria’s influence in the banking sector
I read an article recently that specified the earnings of Maria Ramos currently and it is astounding what she has accomplished.
‘Absa CEO Maria Ramos was paid a total package of R37.6 million for the 2017 financial year, almost matching what Nedbank CEO Mike Brown earned.
Brown is typically known as the highest-paid CEO in the retail banking space, which covers the country’s ‘big five’ banks, including Capitec. He earned R38.1 million last year. Ramos’ total pay package was made up of a basic salary of R8.23 million, benefits of over R328,000, bonuses of R12.5 million and deferred income from previous years totalling R16.6 million.
Absa paid its top five executives a combined total of R123 million for the year. David Hodnett, deputy CEO for SA earned R33.2 million, and Peter Matlare, deputy CEO for the rest of Africa, earned R20 million. Financial director Jason Quinn scored R16.2 million and Nomkhita Nqweni, chief executive of wealth, investment management and insurance, earned R16.4 million.’
A powerhouse woman
It is women like Maria who fight for what they believe in and know their subject and believe in themselves, that have paved the way for so many after them. I find her so awe-inspiring! To say the least!
5 Top Things to Help with a balanced Home and Work Life
Working from home has so many benefits! It enables you the freedom to work in your own personal space. To be close to your family and children at home. You avoid travel and transport costs, sitting in traffic, high costs of petrol. Yet in the role of a VA requires a very strong ability to prioritize and focus and there are many pressures in trying to find the work home balance within your home.
Create a home office space
First of all it is essential to have an office “space” or your own area where you can dedicate your time to your work with clarity and focus. This space should be organized and clean and make you feel like when you enter it, it is work time! Light and bright and full of fresh air. Put a sign on the door that establishes hours that you operate and keep the door open or closed appropriately. Don’t allow family members to wander into your office with stuff that may clutter your work area.
Use time management effectively
Then it is also essential to allocate your time effectively. If for example you work for a client for 3 hours a day, use Toggl or any similar application to monitor the time that you allocate to this client. Often as a VA you will have 3 or more jobs that you are responsible for and in order to make sure you allocate your time to each client each day, you need to be strict with this time management. The flexibility of working at home is fantastic in this way, as you can allocate your day as you wish. Similarly, you need to keep your household in order. Especially if you have young children, there needs to be set times for meals, breakfast, lunch, bed time etc. This way the family will get to know when it is your work time and not interfere with that.
The lack of social contact with other work colleagues can be difficult as a VA, but with systems like Slack where you can chat to other VA’s it is becoming much more interactive. It is important to utilize these chat rooms and liaise regarding methods of working, new systems, how you are feeling etc. Even just to vent!
Take a break!
Lunch breaks and tea breaks will help to keep the creative juices flowing! Breaks help you get your blood circulating and you will be more productive in the end.
Finding time to get outdoors, and exercise every day is a great way to stay focused and keep energy levels on top form.
Self-discipline is key
Allocate your hours and stick to them….. and when you are finished then clock off for the day and switch off. You need to treat it as you would an office job, and “leave” at the end of the day otherwise you can end up working constantly and this just leads to burn out.
I definitely see this way of working as the way of the future, the way forward. I love my job and the work/family balance is incredibly fulfilling.