Dealing with difficult clients

people using laptops while sitting on chair

You will always have clients. Let’s get that out there first. You’re always working for someone, even if you’re working for yourself. And with that comes the ups and downs of dealing with clients. You can get the mean Karens at the register (who suck) or the client who wants impossible deadlines. You could get the client who forgets what you said and then acts like you’re in the wrong.

Every client is going to bring you something new. So, what do you do about the tough ones? What do you do about the ones you feel you can’t win with?

Let’s look at a few and I’ve put together and some thoughts on each of them.

The mean client

This is the one who is just nasty. Who doesn’t respect you or your work. They can be downright cruel even. First off, if you can drop them, then do it. They will never get better. But if you can’t, then the best way to deal with them is to make sure you keep boundaries up at all times. The answer is not to be a good soldier for them. The answer is to make sure they know where you stand and what you will and will not tolerate.

The client who wants a lot

You just pitched this big project and now the client wants it for less. They don’t see the point in marketing. They don’t see the value. So they want all this marketing and they want it for half what you know you’re worth. In this case, there are multiple ways to deal here. If you are struggling for clients, then you may have to bite the bullet and take the lesser cost. Who knows? Maybe it can lead to more work down the road. But if you don’t need to buckle to them, then you should stick to your pricing. You know what it costs to run a social media campaign. You know how much digital ads cost. Don’t go against what you know. Your expertise is what they’re buying.

A difficult client wants to fight you. You have to do what you can not to let them win.

Keeping your cool

The thing you must do is always keep an eye out on what is happening. A good client can turn to a bad client fast. You have to always have one eye on their projects and one eye on what’s working in the relationship. Sadly, it’s never as stable as you want it to be.

When a client is shifty and becoming bad, it’s usually because they’re mad about something you did or did not do. So talk about it. Open the lines of communication. Get to the heart of why they have done this 180. Maybe you will find your answer.

Stay the course

In the end, you know what you will and will not put up with. Too often, we let bad clients stick around because they pay us well. But your emotional well-being matters more than your paycheck. You can find better clients. Trust that. You will always be able to find better clients.

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