How Great Businesses Build Clear Communication and Trust

How Great Businesses Build Clear Communication and Trust

The most important part of working with clients is to have clear lines of communication and an abundance of trust. When a client signs on with you the best way you can ensure that turns into a repeat client is to make the process easy and beneficial. Clear communication and trust are the foundation of a good client relationship and there are three simple ways to build those very things. 

Onboarding Process

 Having a concise and clear onboarding process starts your business relationship off on the right foot. Create a document or series of documents that lays out everything the client can expect from you and what you expect from them.  This will help you avoid your new clients feeling confused or worse like you took their money and now they have no idea what happens. This is also a great time to explain your company policies such as communication response time. The clarity right from the start will immediately show that you are a professional and you have policies and procedures that will make the relationship beneficial for yourself and your client. 

Clear Work Flow

 Before you start working on your client’s project you should offer a clearly stated path of what they can expect along the way. Remember that your client has no idea how long each aspect of the work will take and if you do not communicate a timeline they may think it should be completed more quickly. Depending on the length of the contract and the scope of the work you can offer a timeline that gives time frames for deliverables, review time, status reports and final delivery date. If you manage the expectations of the client and let them know that they will be communicated with regularly it puts them at ease. They know what to expect and know that you will be in touch, which allows them to sit back and let you do their job and you do yours. 

Status Reports

If you have an ongoing project or a large project that is taking longer than a couple of weeks you should consider status updates. These updates do not have to go into every tiny detail, but they do serve as a benchmark for the project and keeps the client appraised of progress. This can be especially helpful if it is a lengthy project. If you are not keeping your client appraised of your progress and wins as it relates to them they can forget how important your role is to their business. Status reports remind them of the good work that you are doing. 

By building up trust and keeping open lines of communication you create a mutually beneficial relationship that will serve both you and your client for the length of the project and future work together. 

about

Danielle LaFleur

Danielle is a serial entrepreneur and has been creating and running businesses for over 20 years. She currently operates Easy As Pie Design, a website design firm and Build Your Mastermind, a business consulting agency.

Danielle has been featured in over 30 publications, worked with National Geographic in over 50+ countries, and has created a process for extracting an ROI from an ROE in training and development which is currently being used in over 100+ corporations.

Danielle encourages all of those that work with her to deep dive into their values, maximize those natural talents and skills, and create the life they have always dreamed of. She is a full believer that when you align yourself with who you are meant to be, there is an opportunity around every corner.

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Starting Your Own Business

Starting Your Own Business

Mastering Your Business with Danielle La Fleur and guest Karen Rae talk about Starting Your Own Business! How do you face the fears that go along with starting a new business! Danielle addresses how to overcome with action and creating systems!

about

Danielle LaFleur

Danielle is a serial entrepreneur and has been creating and running businesses for over 20 years. She currently operates Easy As Pie Design, a website design firm and Build Your Mastermind, a business consulting agency.

Danielle has been featured in over 30 publications, worked with National Geographic in over 50+ countries, and has created a process for extracting an ROI from an ROE in training and development which is currently being used in over 100+ corporations.

Danielle encourages all of those that work with her to deep dive into their values, maximize those natural talents and skills, and create the life they have always dreamed of. She is a full believer that when you align yourself with who you are meant to be, there is an opportunity around every corner.

Join Our Community of Amazing Women

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Dealing with Difficult Clients Part 2

Dealing with Difficult Clients Part 2

Last week we talked all about the types of difficult clients you might encounter in your business. You can read that here. Today we are going to dive deeper and talk about how to deal with each type of client. 

Indecisive/Committee Decision Makers

The main thing to figure out when dealing with indecisive clients is to figure out what exactly is their concern. Is it price, trust in hiring, quality, quantity? Once you know their real issue you can speak to that and help move them toward a decision. You can also offer value-added time-sensitive bonuses to help them decide. If you cannot move them to a yes or no, evaluate if they are a serious prospect. Some people will never decide so you will have to make it for them and move on. 

Everything is on Fire/911

There will always be times with every client that something needs to be done ASAP or there is an emergency, but for this type of client, EVERYTHING is an emergency and needs to be done yesterday. The only way to work with these clients is to manage expectations at every turn. Offer clear delivery dates for the work you are doing and when they want to add anything to your plate let them know when it will be completed. If you manage expectations it gives them peace of mind and a date they can rely on for delivery. 

Know it All

Someone who thinks they know everything will respond well to being complimented on their knowledge. Compliment their knowledge about your offerings in a sincere way. Don’t argue why they are wrong and why you are right, this will only make things worse. Instead, offer examples/education about why something is different than what they think. Have a conversation and allow the know-it-all to leave with their ego intact and they will respond positively to you and your offerings. 

Bargain Shoppers

Bargain shoppers can be very difficult. They do not want to pay your price and will look for any way to garner a discount or reduce the offering and pay less for it. Some of these types of clients will never hire you because they only look at price, not value. The best way to deal with these types of clients is to ask for a budget range, offer a list of options and highlight the ones in their price range. Don’t discount to get this type of client because it sets a precedent that you do not want to deal with for the life of the contract.

No Boundaries

Clients who do not have boundaries can be the most frustrating, so you need to take a very firm line. Have all of your policies clearly stated on all your contracts, welcome packets, and any other onboarding materials you have. If the client breaks a policy, respond within the parameters of your regulations. For example, if you state that unless it is an emergency you do not respond to emails outside of business hours and the client email you looking for something on a Saturday, so not respond until business hours on Monday. Also, make sure you set clear expectations and manage the expectations of the client. This helps being bombarded with requests. 

Bully

Dealing with a bully client can be intimidating. They tend to be more aggressive and push you toward their agenda above your company policies. The best way to deal with this type of client is through adherence to strong policies/rules/procedures and staying calm in all interactions. In many situations a bully client gets their way by being the loudest one in the discussion, do not engage in that sort of behavior. If a client has a “problem,” you can apologize and ask for specific ways you can fix it. 

If a bully client cannot be satisfied it may be time to cut them loose. You do not want the ongoing headache of these aggressive interactions. On the other hand, if you can get this type of client to the point that they trust and respect you and your work they can end up being a very loyal and long-term client. 

Difficult clients will happen in your business and if you can deal with them in an effective manner you can either clear them off your client roster or manage their behavior and turn them into great clients. 

about

Danielle LaFleur

Danielle is a serial entrepreneur and has been creating and running businesses for over 20 years. She currently operates Easy As Pie Design, a website design firm and Build Your Mastermind, a business consulting agency.

Danielle has been featured in over 30 publications, worked with National Geographic in over 50+ countries, and has created a process for extracting an ROI from an ROE in training and development which is currently being used in over 100+ corporations.

Danielle encourages all of those that work with her to deep dive into their values, maximize those natural talents and skills, and create the life they have always dreamed of. She is a full believer that when you align yourself with who you are meant to be, there is an opportunity around every corner.

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Be the first to know about upcoming events, new shows and stories!

Dealing with Difficult Clients Part 1

Dealing with Difficult Clients Part 1

Bill Gates once said “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  It can be difficult to see the silver lining when you are in the midst of dealing with a difficult client. In our two-part series we are going to identify six common types of challenging clients and next week we will give our tips on how to deal with your less than ideal customers and learn and grow from the experience. 

Difficult client behavior can usually be categorized into some very typical categories. 

Indecisive/Committee Decision Makers

The clients cannot decide to save their lives. Every little thing takes long and intense thought and they have to run it by their team, spouse, cousin and drycleaner before coming to a decision. These clients are bottlenecks to your workflow and because they have so many people weighing in they have thousands of ideas/possibilities and they are scared they will choose the wrong one. 

Everything is on Fire/911

The 911 client thinks everything is an emergency and needs to be done yesterday. They have no respect for the fact that they are not your only client and can be pushy about getting things done immediately. There is no distinction for these clients between an actual emergency and typical workflow items. 

Know it All

The know it all knows everything about everything. They question and second guess everything you do and assume they know about your job as much as you do. They make you question why they have even hired you in the first place. 

Bargain Shoppers

Bargain shoppers are those who want you to discount your prices. Before they hire you they are asking for a discount, extra free work, etc. If you manage to get them into a contract without giving discounts beware, they will continue to look for freebies and discounts. 

No Boundaries

The client without boundaries calls you on a Saturday and expects that you can drop everything to work on their projects. They disregard your preferred communication channels and ignore your policies. They treat you more like an employee than a business owner who they are working with. 

Bully

The bully can be a combination of any of the above-mentioned clients, the difference is that they are aggressive and put pressure on you to bend to their way of thinking. They can make you feel pressured to do what they want or else.

Next week we will go over strategies and tactics to deal with these difficult  clients and create working relationships that benefit you and your business. 

about

Danielle LaFleur

Danielle is a serial entrepreneur and has been creating and running businesses for over 20 years. She currently operates Easy As Pie Design, a website design firm and Build Your Mastermind, a business consulting agency.

Danielle has been featured in over 30 publications, worked with National Geographic in over 50+ countries, and has created a process for extracting an ROI from an ROE in training and development which is currently being used in over 100+ corporations.

Danielle encourages all of those that work with her to deep dive into their values, maximize those natural talents and skills, and create the life they have always dreamed of. She is a full believer that when you align yourself with who you are meant to be, there is an opportunity around every corner.

Join Our Community of Amazing Women

Be the first to know about upcoming events, new shows and stories!

Setting Boundaries with Clients

Setting Boundaries with Clients

As your business grows and your client roster increases you can guarantee that you will start running into issues with your clients. It is likely that the issues could be fixed with a few key policies and boundaries. So, how do you set new boundaries with current clients? It can feel awkward, but you can do it in a way that feels natural and professional. 

Figure out What Boundaries are Needed

Before you start announcing new policies get a clear picture of what issues need to be addressed. Are you getting phone calls late at night, are deadlines being missed? Figure out all the places that you have frustration with your clients and write it all out. Once you have a comprehensive list creating wording around these issues addressing what your policy is and what the consequence of breaking the policy is for the client. 

Put Them In Print

Once you have your boundaries written output them in print everywhere that makes sense. They should be stated clearly in your contract, in your welcome letter and if you provide any onboarding information make sure it is stated clearly there. For clients, you are already working with sending them the new policies with the offer to chat about the changes and what that means doe their contract. 

Enforce, Enforce, Enforce

 Finally, and probably the hardest part; enforce your new boundaries. Make no exceptions. If you start excusing behavior it is a slippery slope until you are right back into your frustration point. Even if you get some pushback initially, clients will treat you in the way you teach them too. So, stick to your new policies and clients will respect you. If they do not abide by your new policies then you really need to think if you want to continue to work with them in the future. 

Setting boundaries and creating policies can feel really uncomfortable at first, but in the long run, it will allow you to enjoy your work. When you are constantly aggravated by clients you become resentful of them and their projects, so think of your new protocols as a way to give better service to those who hire you. 

about

Danielle LaFleur

Danielle is a serial entrepreneur and has been creating and running businesses for over 20 years. She currently operates Easy As Pie Design, a website design firm and Build Your Mastermind, a business consulting agency.

Danielle has been featured in over 30 publications, worked with National Geographic in over 50+ countries, and has created a process for extracting an ROI from an ROE in training and development which is currently being used in over 100+ corporations.

Danielle encourages all of those that work with her to deep dive into their values, maximize those natural talents and skills, and create the life they have always dreamed of. She is a full believer that when you align yourself with who you are meant to be, there is an opportunity around every corner.

Join Our Community of Amazing Women

Be the first to know about upcoming events, new shows and stories!

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