By Sunny Simon
You’ve experienced it and so have I. Sooner or later, we all must to deal with those annoying clients that make us nuts. You know the type. The one who makes you want to take cover when you see his or her name pop up on your cell phone or incoming email list. They come in all varieties. Some take advantage of the relationship by constantly wanting more than stipulated in a contract or agreement. Graciously you give in, and after a cursory thank you they ask for more.
Others do not practice honesty, have no sense of integrity and will outright lie to you. Their payments are always late claiming they ran out of checks or firing off one of the 99 other excuses that readily slip off their tongue. The question is, how we keep from tearing our hair out when difficult personalities cross our path?
I don’t know much about Zen, other than it is a way of being, however, I recently stumbled across a helpful Zen principal called the “beginners mind.” The premise, eliminate prejudging a client’s situation. Stated differently, stop thinking the “shoulds,” like they “should” understand the contract. Those “shoulds” bouncing around in our head make us defensive and unproductive. Remedy this by “tapping into the beginners mind,” and start afresh. Summon up your professionalism and explain the contract, or the payment terms in detail until the client acknowledges understanding.
Here’s something to put on the “don’t” side of the ledger. Utilize the Dale Carnegie philosophy, “Why prove to a man he is wrong? It that going to make him like you? Why not let him save face?” Deal with this disgruntled individual by acknowledging it may be your fault for not explaining the contract clearly. Sure you know he’s wrong, but rubbing it in his face accomplishes nothing.
What about the impossible client who consistently disregards deadlines putting you behind? You know their modus operandi so change your timeline. Overestimating the time it will take to complete a segment of the job will keep you on track.
Lastly, it helps to recognize conflict is part of doing business. There is some truth in the old adage, “the customer is always right.” The flip side is, you can always fire the client. It is okay to do so, however, do it gracefully without burning your bridges.
Bottom line, if you intend to keep working with that impossible client, lean in, use the strategies I outlined and call on your better angels to help you suck it up and get the job done. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com