3 strategies for dealing with difficult clients

Not everyone a PR pro works with will be a good fit for the client or your firm. Here’s how to gracefully end business relationships that aren’t working. 

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There is nothing more rewarding or challenging than making a client happy. Here, sometimes, I get really lucky, working with people who are gracious, respectful and even excited to work with me.

Related: 4 Tips to Forge Winning Client Relationships for the Long-Term

Other times, not so much. It’s those times when I have to remember to stay cool and handle issues head-on so that they don’t get even worse. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned.

1. Expectation vs. reality

Over-the-top expectations can be a big problem, especially when someone is working with a company for the first time. That person may have surfed the Internet to get an idea of what to expect, or talked to an “expert” friend. As a result, the initial meeting may feel to that client like more of a reality check than anything else; other times, it may feel like a huge slap in the face.

As the business owner, helping customers to understand your pricing, your payment terms, the amount of time you’ll be involved in a project and how much of the client’s involvement you’ll need are vital things to mention in an initial meeting. This is how you avoid miscommunications and set boundaries for your customer.

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