Client disputes are always damaging your reputation as a professional. No matter how you perceive it, when a negative review is attributed to your name will always have a negative impact on your career. However, conflict management is not a simple thing to attain, especially when we’re talking about highly important clients.
When these clients are important and also complex, which means that their perspectives and their unhappiness seem out of the place or complicated to consider, handling conflict in the most appropriate way might require some skills.
Conflicts are the roots of failure. You can have the best product, the best brand on the market, and you can be the best at what you do. However, absolutely no client will deal with you and your business in case they’re not emotionally satisfied with what you’re offering.
In today’s post, we’re going to explore 7 methods of handling conflicts with complex clients. Learn how to manage every fight and you’ll win the war!
Reassess the Entire Situation Objectively
The first and most important step you need to take whenever conflict arises consists in stepping back and reassessing the situation in the most objective manner. As you already know, most people act according to their emotions. To control the situation, you need to leave your feelings aside and perceive the challenge using different perspectives.
Quite frankly, your feelings don’t truly matter. When we’re talking about conflicts, what matters is the final result. The problem is not important…the solution is. Therefore, put yourself in your “opponent’s shoes” and understand his biggest concerns. Once you grasp his problems, you will stop encouraging more conflict and you’ll deal with the problem calmly and responsibly.
People say that they listen, but in fact, very few individuals manage to do that. To listen to means to completely eliminate all of your thoughts, ideas, and potential replies. It means to pay very close attention to the person’s words, body language, and facial expressions. You need to understand what the person standing in front of you truly wants.
During conflicts, listening with much care will provide you with a lot of strength and control. When your discussion partner is done talking, ask him to give you a few seconds. Assure him that you’ve listened and that you’re thinking of a solution that could fit you both. Your ability to listen will heavily influence the final result of the conflict!
In order to diminish or fully disband a conflict, you should learn how to develop rapport between you and your discussion partner. You can do that by matching their body language, listening carefully and nodding your head, and also by repeating the problems that they’ve emphasized.
Watch that person in the eyes and match their “vibe”. If they’re calm, be calm. If they’re nervous, show signs of nervousness too. Obviously, you shouldn’t hit them if they hit you, but you’ve got my point.
When you build rapport with a person, that person will subconsciously tend to like you. The more common ground you can develop the easier it’ll be to diminish any sort of conflict.
Stick to the Facts
Most conflicts arise because two or more individuals do not own the same version of the truth, or because their belief systems are sitting in contradiction. The best way to deal with a conflict is to stick to the facts.
You need to look at what has actually happened. Opinions, perspectives, and attitudes…they differ depending on the person. Facts though? Facts represent the truth. When you speak the truth and you let your conflict partner see that they might be mistaken according to the facts, the conflict should immediately cease.
Repeat Their Issues and Concerns
As I’ve already mentioned, repeating your client’s issues and concerns is a great way of establishing rapport. Moreover, if you take the time to repeat the concerns, the problems, and the issues that your interlocutor has previously stated, you’re showing him that you have listened.
It’ll let them know that you actually care about their concerns so they’ll lower their guard. Try to give them the impression that you’re also upset about their problems and that you’re doing your best to find a perfect solution for both of you!
Be Humble and Empathetic
If you’re an empathetic person, conflicts won’t represent a lot of issues for you. If you’re not, you need to strive to be! Conflicts which are born because of professional matters are more complicated than personal conflicts. There are more things at stake, so you’ll need to be a much better negotiator.
Be humble and emphatic with your clients. Don’t be aggressive or anything like that; you never want to establish yourself using force or aggression. Build a connection with your interlocutor by putting yourself in his shoes and being as humble as you can!
Focus on the Solution Instead of Agonizing Over the Problem
You’re in a conflict when there’s a problem. The nature of the problem is important, yet not extremely useful. You need to know what the problem was, you need to acknowledge it (and your interlocutor too) and you need to sit on it for a while.
However, a conflict is never going to cease unless there’s a good solution that can diminish the problem. Therefore, whenever you’re negotiating or dealing with a conflict, the solution is the only thing you should be looking for. Don’t agonize over the problem. It’s over. It’s done. It happened. It’s past. Focus on the solution, as you can develop it right now, in the present moment.
The ability to solve conflicts with clients (and not only) is critical for every professional. Considering that you’re constantly dealing with human beings, which are emotional beings, you’re ought to become a better negotiator. Even though you may not be negotiating money directly, staying out of conflicts with your clients can only pay off well for you in the near and far future.
About the author:
Eva Wislow is a career coach and HR Executive at Careers Booster. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. Eva maintains a strong interest in bringing the digital revolution in human resources. She finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.