While most event planners and meeting organisers enjoy their jobs – even the nitty gritty bits like planning and coordinating – if there’s one thing they commonly wish for less of, it’s “bad clients”.
You know what we’re talking about. Clients that take up lots of your time, are rude/disrespectful, constantly change their minds, and never pay on schedule. But the reality is, “bad clients” are a part of every service provider’s business.
So instead of trying to avoid such clients, it may be more useful to ask yourself what you can gain from these situations.
Gain a new appreciation for everyone else
If there’s one thing a troublesome client can teach us, it’s how to appreciate a good (or even average) client. After all, who would you rather work with? Two awesome clients with average budgets, or one troublesome one with a decent budget – but will likely take up many, many more hours of your time managing.
Discovering the power of “no”
As a service-oriented professional, it can be difficult to say “no” to client requests – even if you’re not obligated to agree. And if you find yourself with this issue and lament being “too nice”, think carefully and ask yourself this honest question, “Am I really being too nice? Or am I taking the easy way out by saying yes? Do I actually lack the guts to say no?”
You may be surprised by the answer. But discovery is the first step to improvement. And if you’ve discovered that your real issue is finding the confidence to say “no”, a “bad client” with over the top requests would be present many ideal opportunities to just say no.
Learning to set (or manage) expectations
Disconnects often happen when two parties are expecting different working relations, processes, and results. While it’s true that your client may have unrealistic expectations, it’s also important that you learn how to manage these expectations – so make your life (and future events) more manageable.
Talk through the event or meeting planning process with your client before you get started – perhaps even before they sign on the contract to engage you.
Be explicit and detailed in what they should expect, and be sure to ask them for what they expect of you too – so you can clarify if you can give them the level of support they want, or if they’ll need to look somewhere else. (Or perhaps, pay for more of your time and resources, if they wish to secure it.)
It’s a matter of perspective
Your worst clients, can also be your best teachers – and you’ll certainly need them to come along every once in a while, to help you take your professional abilities to the next level.
So the next time you find yourself managing a “difficult client”, shift your perspective and know that while the next few weeks or months may be tough – you’ll also be given numerous opportunities to learn and grow.
Make the most of it!