Conflicting clients

This is a complex emotional topic. On the one hand, it is always necessary to enter into the position of clients, to try to satisfy their interests as much as possible.

On the other hand, this highly developed habit makes it very difficult to negotiate with people who abuse it - you constantly have to get into someone else's position, do something at your own expense, etc.

How to deal with a conflicting client 

Ideally, it is better not to deal with such people at all. 

If a person is in conflict for any reason, this is most likely a way of life, and you are just an extra in this picture.

How to avoid working with such people - be attentive to any markers at the pre-sale stage - project development, comercialoffer formation, discussion of interaction issues.

What are these markers: 

  • the person does not listen to your arguments
  • constantly discusses issues with you from a top-down position
  • shows disrespect (late for a call, forgets about you, very demanding of the slightest inaccuracies on your part).
  • shows ostentatious politeness with microspores (later he will turn on this mode more and more often).
  • tries to sell in small things.

None of these criteria is a 100% accurate indicator that the client will be heavy. There are different people, situations. But if you have 2-3 signs, make a decision about participating in the project with caution.

I proceed from the fact that there is no need to chase after every client, it is simply unprofitable to work with some types of clients.

It is important to take into account the indirect negative aspects of working with conflicted people:

  • you sleep worse, so you do your job less efficiently
  • people in the team are straining in the wrong places
  • processes are slowing down
  • you have to insure the papers and the process of interaction under the contract
  • thoughts about conflicts take away the energy that you could direct to the product. 

Handling conflict situations

In some situations, you can't recognize a troublemaker, and you're already working on a project.

What should I do with it?

First, it is important to understand a person's intentions. Does he want to have a row, to come off on someone, or does he just not get what he wanted to get.

If you understand the motives of a person, you have levers to solve the problem.

It is immediately better to distinguish 2 states of people - rationally thinking and irrationally.

If a person cannot think rationally at the moment, then it is useless to convince him of something, to give arguments, to explain. Sometimes it happens that a person does not come out of this state at all. Then it's very difficult.

The main thing you have to do is move it to a safe place. He's probably scared or angry. You need to convince him that he has nothing to fear, to make his position as safe as possible for himself. Only when he feels safe, he will talk to you on a rational basis.

If a person is adequate, thinks rationally - this is already very good. You can talk to him seriously and in detail.

Now you need to understand - is he leading you by the nose or does he have a real problem.

It so happens that they simply begin to manipulate the contractor (especially the inexperienced with pink glasses, who tries to please the customer in everything), choosing free improvements, discounts and other privileges.

In this case, you have to take up defense and negotiate. It takes energy, time, but you can't let yourself get on your neck. In any case, pay attention to at least basic negotiation skills. Use it to achieve a positive result for both sides (some understand these skills as an opportunity to bend someone, and this is a big mistake).

Why is it important that both sides are satisfied? Yes, because a unilateral decision will not work for a long time (a good example is the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War 1).

The general outline for me in such negotiations is one - to exit. Fulfill all your obligations and end such a relationship. It is important not to cut from the shoulder, leaving the customer with nothing. But you don't need to offend yourself either. We did what we agreed to do and that's it. 

Yes, somewhere you will lose money, but working with a manipulator is very expensive and resource-intensive - it's constant correspondence, clarification of relationships, long calls on the most trivial issues that are solved in 5 minutes.

A completely different situation is when a person has a good reason to yell a little. If you are messing up somewhere (and who is not messing up?), then you just need to admit it and work out a common approach to this problem with the client. 

In this case, the client gives a benefit to your company - he constructively points out your problem areas. Another thing is in what form it happens. 

You will not be able to remake the client - if he is used to yelling, calling names and being rude about anything - nothing will change his business approach. Yes, he may temporarily reduce his aggression a little, but it will still appear. In this case, you need to decide for yourself who you can work with and who you don't want to work with.

In any case, no matter how you decide about participating in the project, you should never leave behind "open fractures" and "gunshot wounds". 

First, always do what you have committed to do.

Secondly, never threaten the client with technical problems, a logic bomb, etc.

Third, if you exit the project, provide the client with everything necessary for the future work of the project: provide documentation, help in mastering the system to new contractors, etc.

Fourth, seek understanding with the client. At least in a minimal form. If a person is generally adequate, then most likely he has no purpose to conflict with you. His goal is to solve his problems.

Working on yourself

A separate part of the problem is your condition. If you are nervous, constantly making a lunge towards the client, then this does not bode well. 

Try to turn off your emotions, solve questions constructively, take into account the opponent's condition, your task is not to get him with your arguments, but to find a solution suitable for both. 

If it's really hard for you to cope with yourself - just look at it all a little from the side (dissociated). Emotions will immediately become less. Remember your old conflicts - are they so important to you now? And this conflict will also pass, and will leave almost no trace in the memory. 

Reduce everything to details, details, immerse the customer in the essence of the issues, and not just make throw-ins of the kind "in general, somehow crookedly done”. 


Try to resolve all conflicts on a constructive basis, without succumbing to emotions.

Neither you nor the customer need conflicts.


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