Suddenly, there’s a temperature shift in the room, your thoughts start racing and your heart is beating a little faster. You think, should I pack my bag now or can I salvage this.
We’ve all been (or someday will be) in a spot where your client is clearly unhappy—or maybe even visibly hostile. Whether it’s a clash of personalities or rift in communication, a stressful situation with a difficult client can really break you if you can’t find a way to deal.
Not everyone has this skill, but I’ve seen some pretty great leaders come through tough interactions with clients to build successful relationships. Here are Endiem’s top five strategies for not only surviving the dreaded angry client conflict, but maybe even turning it into a positive.
#1: Ask how you can help
Have you ever heard the idea that combative people really just want to feel like someone hears them? There’s a lot of wisdom there. Many people, especially non-confrontational personalities, have a knee-jerk—maybe even evolutionary—response to retreat or get defensive. Push to fight those feelings and listen instead of explaining or defending. Forcing yourself to actively listen will not only make your client feel heard and valued, it will also bring you closer to a sound solution.
#2: Uncover the root cause and clarify goals
After asking for their thoughts and actively listening, it’s time to start asking the right questions. What is really causing this disagreement? If you’re coming at the issue from different directions or using different language to describe what’s going on, figuring out what the actual issue is can be frustrating for both your client and you. Carefully asking pointed, clarifying questions can get you on the right track of getting in-sync with your clients needs and the root of their pain point.
#3: Press pause and regroup
The three simple words, “I don’t know” can be scary, but incredibly freeing. Sometimes, it feels as if admitting that you don’t know something is tantamount to admitting defeat. The truth is, it might actually be refreshing for your client to see your vulnerability. This would be especially true if you follow up the “I don’t know,” with a, “but I’m going to take the time to research it further.” Admitting that you don’t know can open the door for a real conversation and signal to your client that you really care about finding the best answer, not just the answer you have on hand.
#4: Use super-secret team codes
Getting on the same page with your team is vital to getting through a stormy meeting. Nothing is more frustrating than staring blankly at your teammate, watching everyone be at a total loss as to what to do next. Try having a pre-designated word or phrase that puts a plan of action into motion—a “code word” of sorts.
#5: Change up the tone and flow
A change of scenery can make all the difference. Try changing up the situation be moving around the room or changing your actions. We like to get up and make a note on the whiteboard. It has the power to slow things down and allow everyone a breath to get back on track with the conversation.
Stressful situations are tough—let us take some of that off your plate
Keeping your cool through Salesforce implementations, optimizations and (let’s be honest) the everyday grind is rough enough. Our range of Salesforce expertise is deep and wide. We’re more than ready to take some of the heat off and minimize the stressful situations in your business. Contact us today to learn more.