How to Handle Difficult Clients in Your Coaching Business or Agency

by | Jul 4, 2022 | Business Advice, Shannon Lavenia | 0 comments

Ok, let’s talk about how to handle difficult clients in your coaching business or agency. When you start your business, your mindset is, “I want a lot of customers”. Then you get those customers and they aren’t always the easiest or best to deal with. Not all customers are the same and yes, some can be difficult clients. Not all are created equal. Some will be easier to work with than others. 

So…if you’re expecting success, you should know how to deal with the inevitable difficult clients. 

Everyone knows how to deal with great customers. They love you, you love them. Done. These are not your difficult clients and typically won’t become them unless something really goes sideways. 

Let’s talk about the flip-side of that – how to deal with the difficult customers. 

No one likes to talk about difficult clients until it’s too late. No one wants to think there are difficult clients looming. But sometimes there are. And sometimes those difficult customers are a result of our own lack of organization, communication or processes. 

Steps to Handle Difficult Clients

  1. Have written agreements. Be thorough in your contracts. If it isn’t written, it isn’t true. One way to deal with someone who can never be satisfied is to point to the document. (Side note). This also helps keep you accountable to what you have promised to deliver. 
  2. Holy Grail of Objectivity – don’t be too quick to get defensive or reactive. Really look at how you can be causative about improving the situation. Maybe listening to your client and acknowledging their concerns. Giving feedback on what you can do to make things better. 
  3. Apply diplomacy, not emotion. Before handling any emotionally challenging situation, be sure to get yourself into a good mental state. Go for a walk, eat a good meal, take your vitamins, hydrate, then reflect on the situation and decide how to handle it. Personally, we like to verbally communicate with the person on zoom or by phone so that we can keep things very professional. 
  4. Don’t hide from it. More communication is better, not less. Bonus tip – don’t hit “send” on an email you’ve written emotionally. Have someone else read it for you before you send it. It’s like pressing the trigger on a gun. You can never get the bullet back. 
  5. Create clearly established boundaries or use an intermediary, like an assistant between you and the clients if you find handling clients challenging. We always recommend limiting personal contact with clients so that you can be in the CEO role of your business, not working IN your business but rather ON your business. 

We’ve seen people throw their arms up and walk away from perfectly amazing businesses because they had difficulty dealing with clients. Follow this advice to void that outcome. Better yet, organize your business so someone else is responsible for working with your clients. 

Watch the full video here:

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