Diwali is round the corner and you're keen to scale up your business. That means attracting new clients. Not so fast! Now might be a good time to 'meet' some of those clients, especially those who will probably drive you nuts. Bring a start-up, you will have no choice but to deal with them, in the spirit of good business practices. Let's run through a few of these clients and look at the best way to deal with them.
Haven't we all met that overfriendly neighbour who used to ask you inane questions about what you ate for lunch, what Diwali gifts you received, and, tch, tch, always cursed the weather? When you begin your own venture, you're sure to meet that 'chatterbox' client you would rather run a mile from. Here's the bad news - you can't. To deal with customers like this, refrain from returning the chatter. Instead, respond politely and firmly, and steer the conversation towards your business transaction. You have to strike a balance between being appreciative of his sociable nature and stay focused on their actual needs.
The Dominating One
Fasten your seatbelt because you're bound to run into this one pretty often. He's overbearing, dismissive, will take jibes at you, and probably challenge you at every step. And, as much as you would like to tell him off, you can't because he may have big bucks to spend or is a brand that will do your ventures oodles of good.
Like it or not, you have to take a stand that is completely professional and look past his aggression. Maintain a calm veneer and do not fall into the verbal traps he may be setting for you. Instead, be polite yet firm, and reason things with him. If you do not encourage his childish behaviour, he will ultimately fall in line.
The One With Great Expectations
This is a client who is a tad difficult to handle. More often than not, he is likely to give you shoddy briefs or very little information about what exactly he is expecting from you. And when you give it your best shot, he will likely say it's not good enough and he's not gotten his money's worth! It's easier to handle such clients when you identify them from the very beginning. If a client appears too 'chilled out' and leaves too much up to you from the very beginning, smell a rat! Get into the habit of keeping him in the loop. Call or mail and keep him apprised of your progress. That way, he cannot back out at the eleventh hour, claiming things did not meet his expectations.
The Pompous One
Have you watched Devil Wears Prada? Well, this client is the living incarnation of Miranda Priestly! She lives to be scathing and downright offensive. She may seem poised and polished but will not refrain from using profanities if things are not they way she wants them to be. You feel like throwing a shoe at her but that's exactly what she wants. If she behaves inappropriately, make sure you do not retaliate. Keep your calm and try and concentrate on the problem at hand. In fact, it might be a good idea to walk that extra mile to make sure she receives exceptional service from you.
He's the guy who never fails to drive a hard bargain, and will often come up with questions like, 'How flexible are you on pricing?' he may even try to set a bait, saying your competitor is offering 20 per less than your. Such customers drive you up the wall and you instinctively want to show them the door. Of course, you cannot do that! Reason it out with him and explain the value additions you're offering which justify your price. You have to convince him that you are offering services that are par excellence and that you will live up to your promises. And never, never bad-mouth your competition. That is simply bad business ethics.
The importance of dealing with difficult clients cannot be stressed enough. Once you master the art of dealing with different types of customers, half your battle is won. Good customer relationships is the very foundation of every company and, as a start-up, it is indeed a baptism by fire for you!
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