Dealing with other people is a fundamental part of any professional’s work. What can we do when those relationships become complicated?
The myth of the absolutely independent professional, who limits himself to doing his work alone and in his own way and does not answer to anyone, does not stop being that: a simple myth.
At a minimum, we need customers. Our income depends on our dealings with them. And the truth is that often that treatment becomes complicated .
It is a knot that, as professionals, we must learn to untie.
Starting with an article by Freelance. we have collected a few tips that will help you better manage these situations.
First step: detect what is failing
The first step is to detect where our relationship with the client is failing.
There are at least 4 typical reasons why those of us who consider a customer to be complicated:
1. Communication problems
Sometimes the problems are found in the communication channel and in the way that both parties have to use it. There are people who prefer to talk on the phone; others, on the other hand, are in favor of putting it in writing, so that the petitions are recorded; Many other people are only able to explain well what they think in a face-to-face conversation …
If we do not find the right channel of communication and the precise frequency, it will be difficult for us to understand with the client.
The challenge is to adjust our work to the needs of the client without negatively affecting our performance. An example: there are clients who will want to treat everything by telephone every day, at any time. But if we accept this situation, we will be giving up a lot of effective time for work. In addition, it is difficult to concentrate when phone calls interrupt us at any time.
Therefore, we must look for a certain balance: a system that leaves the client satisfied and allows us to maintain an optimal work rhythm.
Read Also : What Can Be Done When A Client Does Not Pay On Time
2. We do not share the same information
Does the client know the same as we do about the matter we are dealing with? The most common is that we both have different information. And that usually generates problems and misunderstandings. The client may think that our price is very high because he does not really know what our work consists of. And the other way around, we can think that the client is abusing us when he asks us for a discount, because we do not know that this is a behavior that he considers “essential” in his relationship with suppliers.
It is not necessary for the client to “learn” everything we know about our area of activity. That is impossible, and it would be very functional. Most of these problems can be solved simply with a more fluid communication: it is enough that the client knows well what you offer, what the project consists of and what is the difference between your work and that of other professionals. That information will allow you to assess yourself correctly.
3. Vision and different mental schemes
This is one of the fundamental rules: we can not assume that the rest of the world sees things as we do. We have different experiences, visions and mental schemes, and that makes us interpret the world differently.
It is very important that we take it into account. Otherwise, we will find it very difficult to understand the point of view of our clients, who are the ones who, after all, pay for the service. Once we know how others think, we can approach them.
A very useful exercise is to try to see yourself “from the outside”, to detect which are the beliefs, assumptions and behaviors that we have internalized without realizing, and that can distance us from others, especially the clients and end users of our services.
4. Character traits and details in the deal
There are clients that we like. And there are clients that we do not like so much. But that does not mean that we can not maintain a productive relationship for both parties.
The problems arise, many times, due to an apparent “incompatibility of characters”: the client approaches problems in a way that seems wrong to us, and does and says things that we dislike, and vice versa.
Sometimes, to overcome this situation, it is enough to remember that the fundamental link with our client is of a working nature. If we get along, much better. But we do not have to become friends. So it does not make sense to generate too many expectations, nor to be too demanding in personal treatment. It is enough that there is respect (which is not little).
As we have seen, it is fundamental to detect what it is that fails to remedy it.
Once the problem is detected, we have 3 great alternatives:
THE BEST: Save the relationship
The first option we should consider is to “save” the relationship. The world is small, and it is very easy for you to meet again later with that person. So the most advisable thing is not to burn bridges.
To save a relationship sometimes it is enough to make some adjustments like those we have mentioned: modify the way we work, the way in which we communicate with the client, etc.
In other cases, we must swallow our pride so as not to end up in an impasse. The most normal thing is that this decision leads us to a much more productive scenario.
A USEFUL PRACTICE: Go over the details
It is possible to work with someone although their behavior sometimes causes us some rejection. In fact, it is what almost everyone is obliged to do at some point.
A client may be too insistent, and although that is not pleasant, the most sensible is to manage that situation patiently, without giving too much importance, always seeking a consensus solution.
Think of the example of people who, for whatever reason, always make negative comments on blogs. Going into the rag does not usually serve to solve anything. Sometimes it is enough to ignore these comments so that the “negatives” get bored and disappear.
Read Also : 10 Projects That You Should Not Accept : If you do not want to waste time and money
THE LAST OPTION: Cut the relationship
Cutting the relationship should always be the last resort. Among other things because, normally, this break has no reverse: it is not easy for that person, that client, to trust us again.
What is clear is that you should not make this decision in a hurry and hot-for example, in the middle of an anger, or an attack of anger.
It is also true that, sometimes, the break can be the only solution. For example, one of the following cases:
– The client does not pay (and you have already ruled out these measures )
– There is a lack of serious or repeated respect
– The client asks you to do something illegal or unethical
– We find one lie after another
And you, how do you manage difficult relationships?
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