How to Ace a Difficult Client Meeting?
A client meeting is an arranged meeting between sales professionals and prospective clients. The purpose of the meeting is not basically about making a sale but about understanding your potential client’s needs and how best to meet their needs for them.
Hosting a business meeting with a potential client is key to promoting collaboration and effective communication, setting clear objectives and expectations, and establishing and nurturing professional relationships with them. And if the meeting goes well, it can help you seal the deal with prospective customers.
However, no matter how intelligent, competent, and excellent your organization skills are, some clients can be challenging to deal with. As a sales professional, you’ll get to meet more of such clients at some point in your business meeting. Thus, it would be best to learn how to deal with challenging clients before they happen to you and how to ace a problematic client meeting before you find yourself in one.
This article will show you a few strategies for dealing with clients who insist on being a ‘hard nut to crack’ during a client meeting. The strategies are simple enough to execute, but they can significantly help you to ace any client meeting with demanding clients in attendance.
6 Simple Ways To Ace A Difficult Client Meeting
The following are what you should put in place right from your first contact with a client to the point of getting them in a meeting room with you:
#1. Do Your Homework
Researching your client before meeting them will help you and your team prepare for whatever is to come when the actual meeting takes place. It’s always good to dig into the client’s company and what has transpired so far between you in your initial meetings or interactions. This will give you ideas about whom you’re meeting and how best to prepare to deal with them.
#2. Learn About Your Client’s Objectives In Advance
Do some findings on your prospective clients’ objectives, whom they’re bring to the meeting, and their roles. However, all too-demanding clients have one thing in common: they often keep their fundamental objectives until they show up for the client meeting.
If your clients are reluctant about sharing their real objectives, they have a secret meeting agenda. Have a ‘plan B’ on the ground, do some planning before you go to the meeting, and never show up late for the meeting.
#3. Make Your Business Expectations Clear
Setting clear expectations from your day one meeting and spelling them out in language your clients will understand will help save both parties from unnecessary misunderstandings in the future. This can also help avoid complicated interactions when meeting with a difficult prospective client.
Take your time to walk your clients through the details of your working relationship right from the very beginning of your interactions. Make them understand your business background, including your years of industry experience and your project specialization, concerning the support you want to provide to them.
Both parties need to agree on what you’re being hired for and the exact timeframe you’ll work with them. You should also set clear expectations about your pricing structure before taking on a project and how you’re going to receive payment.
Keep a record of all this information in written documents, iron it out with your client, and have them signed upon contract agreement. This will come in handy to resolve any dispute between you and any client in the future.
#4. Establish Clear Boundaries For Clients
Setting boundaries will allow you to communicate your business expectations clearly and modalities to clients so they will respect you and your time. Establishing a firm boundary between you and clients is suitable for running a successful big or small business as it leads to respect from prospective clients, including those who may want to walk over you.
Ensure to set appropriate boundaries around your communication, project scope, and treatment of your staff members and contractors. Doing this will help you and your team avoid any disrespect, foul language, or mistreatment from clients. Take necessary action against any client who may step out of the line by condemning their behaviour and labelling it unacceptable before moving forward with the meeting.
#5. Always Stay Calm
Your emotions may get the better side of you during a client meeting with difficult clients. No matter how difficult a client is trying to be in the meeting, you’re to remain calm and separate business from sentiment. This is where your professionalism is put to the test.
If you’re to be in a meeting room for hours with a client who insists on turning the meeting into chaos, you have to commit to a sense of professionalism. Watch your tone of voice, choice of words, body language, and facial expressions in all your interactions with the client and try to calm them down with your discretion.
However, if you find it hard to commit to professionalism when a client is becoming too difficult to deal with, the best thing to do is step outside the meeting for a while to calm yourself.
#6. If You’re Wrong, Admit It
It’s important to know that you can’t be right at all times. If your hard-to-deal-with clients point out any mistakes of yours, you should be professional enough to own them. Let them talk and be open to any idea coming from your client. If they suggest a better way to get things done, be ready to welcome their point.
However, don’t take the blame when it’s not warranted. Some difficult clients may want to force you to take full responsibility for something that isn’t your fault; it’s essential to stand your ground when it gets to this point.
Doing your homework before the meeting, learning about the details, setting clear expectations, managing the client’s time well, and having firm boundaries. Also, staying calm, documenting everything, admitting your mistakes, and holding your ground when you make no mistakes will, in most cases, result in successful meetings with difficult clients.
However, if a client proves too challenging to manage during a client meeting, even if you’ve done everything right, the next thing to do is walk away.
Interested in learning more about scaling your sales team while successfully maintaining your conversion rate, team motivation and engagement? At SaleDeck, we provide you with tools and resources to improve the efficiency of your sales team.