Let’s face it, if your clients knew everything there was to know about marketing, they wouldn’t need you. The flip side of that is some clients come into it with unrealistic expectations. Your goal is to always provide a positive experience for those people who help pay the bills, but sometimes that requires a little attitude assistance.
Part of helping businesses design successful marketing strategies is to educate them on what makes a good plan. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad client, just poor training.
Teach Them About Deadlines
How about that client that thinks you are at his or her beck and call? One way to stanch that bad habit before it gets out of hand is to create a timeline complete with milestones and deadlines. By presenting this upfront, you set an organizational tone that even the most stubborn client can’t resist. When the call comes asking where something is, all you need to do is point to the timeline and remind them there are deadlines in place.
Of course, this only works if you do your part. Make sure to meet those deadlines on schedule. For example, if you have a new product release, hire a press release writer in plenty of time to get the media attention it deserves.
Lead by Example
Keep a cool head with a hot head client. Business News Daily explains that the things you do will have an effect on the angry client that wants to blow off steam. Listen to the problem without interrupting. That shows concern on your part and, also, gives you a chance to really understand.
Once the rampage subsides and you do respond, keep your voice down. The client will follow suit and calm down. Keep your demeanor business-like and work through the problem step-by-step. Remain positive and upbeat as you develop a solution.
No one likes to feel like they are being played or kept out of the loop. Transparency will help win over the negative client that is skeptical about everything you present. Back up your presentation with data when possible, so it doesn’t come off as guesswork. Being detail-oriented translates as trustworthy and efficient. Providing concise information will block the client that wants to think things over or who stalls on closing the deal, too.
Control the Conversation When Possible
Some clients are big thinkers. You want to avoid getting caught up in a firestorm of impractical concepts. Lay out an agenda for your presentation and stick to it. When the client starts to go off track, find a way to take back that control. If you do it often enough, they will learn to listen to your ideas.
Above all else, know when to let go. There are no bad clients, but there are poor fits. If a client continually stalls on payment or making a deal, tries to pick your brain and then look for internal solutions or is just abusive, move on to the next one without hesitation.
Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.