In any business, you will run into clients with a variety of different personalities, character traits, and life experiences. You are bound to eventually meet a client that is just difficult to work with. So here are some things to keep in mind to help you learn to communicate with difficult clients (and get results).
Realize the stress zone vs. comfort zone.
The first thing you need to learn about how to communicate with difficult clients is to realize that most people show you a different personality when they are stressed vs. when they are comfortable. Under stress a person may be a little bit more irritable, quick tempered, or quick to judge.
To combat this, you want to find a way to get them into their comfort zone. People default to their comfort zone during normal conversation, but when dealing with business affairs, often rely on their stress zone. But how do you know how to get them to their comfort zone?
Identify their personality.
One of the ways to identify your client’s personality is to create buyer personas, but you can also keep in contact with your customers. By talking with them during times of low stress, you will be able to easily find out where they fall in the personality range.
Is your client relational and easy-going? Are they a socializer, an introverted thinker, or are they more of a manager or director? Through conversation during times of low stress, you will be able to better handle them during high stress.
Seek out difficult clients.
The only way to get better at dealing with difficult clients is to seek them out. Make it a point to speak to clients you deem as difficult to communicate with, and then call them and speak with them directly. Don’t resort to email or social media because you need to practice voice communication to effectively deal with these types of clients.
This is especially true now that you know how to identify their personality. The way you talk to clients will be different based on their personality, so getting as much practice as possible is essential.
Keep calm yourself.
Knowing how you should talk to difficult clients and actually talking to difficult clients are two separate things. Often, people try to practice talking to difficult clients only to become angered themselves, which leads to unproductive conversations. It’s almost a self-perpetuated miscommunication circle.
You need to remember that both you and the client wants the relationship to work. Neither party wants failed communication. So it is important for you to remain calm and collected while speaking with a difficult client. There can be many points of contention, whether it is paper keeps jamming machines, to budgets for printers. Stay cool, stay calm, stay happy.
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