One of the hardest lessons learned by the small business owner is the art of letting go. It is easy to focus on making a sale and to lose sight of the fact that sometimes a business relationship is not meant to work out. While it my seem counterintuitive to small business owners and entrepreneurs, it is important to learn how to discern situations in which is best to move on.
There is a delicate balance between working hard to meet the expectations of the client and wasting valuable time and sanity. In the business world, as in every other area of life, some clients and customers are simply impossible to please. However, before moving on, consider some of the following suggestions when dealing with a difficult client:
- Choose your words carefully. A thoughtful approach may be the key to sidestepping an awkward conflict and maintaining a profitable relationship.
- Acknowledge concerns. You can address the concerns of a client without actually agreeing with his or her statements or complaints. This can make a client feel valued and lead to a long-term relationship.
- Keep it professional. Some people are jerks. It is just reality. When dealing with a difficult personality, stick with professional, business-related topics. If you do not mesh with an individual on a personal level, it does not mean that you cannot have a professional relationship.
Even after attempting all of the above, it may be evident that a particular business relationship will not work. You, as a business owner, have the right to protect yourself, your employees and your overall well being by whatever means necessary, even if it means that you will lose a client. At the end of the day, a profit may not be worth dealing an abrasive, insulting or impossible-to-please client—and frankly, that is just fine.