They have fears and hopes just like us. On a case by case basis you need to look at the potential client and ask yourself – “What is their motivation?”
“What could be the worst case scenario if this deal goes wrong?”.
Only then are you in a position to make the best decision for you and your business.
The reason so many business relationships go sour is the expectation of smooth sailing – you are dealing with people; it’s never going to be 100% smooth.
As a business owner it’s your job to come up with management strategies to deal with all kinds of clients, as I’ve mentioned, some will be just plain hard work!
Let’s examine every situation:
• Clients who change their mind ALL the time: ensure you manage expectations. Develop a plan, have this signed off by the client and make sure all communication is documented (to remind them!).
• Clients who take forever to sign off on work or make decisions. For some people this is OK as they are paid by the hour although most us want to see things happening!
Keep sign offs in chunks – not all at once – these clients often freak out at the commitment of big sign offs.
Meet with them regularly and have them sign off in front of you and detail the expense involved if they change their direction half way through implementation.
Try to reassure them with regular updates
• Clients who don’t pay on time – find out their pay cycle for consultants, if it is monthly then invoice weekly and wait for the monthly cycle. If it is ad hoc then send an invoice weekly and schedule reminders.
Worst case scenario is to stop work until you are paid for previous work. This is perfectly legal and the status quo in business.
• Clients who keep giving you work that isn’t your area of specialty Refer back to your PLAN and again this is managing expectations. Source out other people who can provide what they are requesting and also remind your client how diverting your attention to different work will slow down the process of delivering.
• Clients who are unrealistic. Communicate very clearly what is possible and what they can expect – and WHEN.
Document all exchanges.
See each client as your boss. How would you deal with them? Would you be rude? No. You would have respect and find the best way to deal with them for a positive outcome.
Don’t burn any bridges or act emotionally.
If you have tried everything then you can always break up with your client and like all break ups – be nice, be firm and don’t talk about it to anyone.
SUSIE WILSON MODERN DAY ETIQUETTE & FINISHING EXPERT DIRECTOR OF ANTOINETTE CHAMPAGNE FINISHING SCHOOL, MELBOURNE
With a highly professional and direct approach to her topics, Susie is dedicated in providing her clients with the most up-to- date etiquette training relevant to todays’ modern society.