Throughout my 18+ year corporate career I earned a reputation for having the ‘magic touch’ when it came to clients, especially the “difficult” ones. In fact, the CIO of one company asked me point-blank, “Who’d you tick off to get stuck with us?”
Much of my success has to do with understanding some specific dynamics of client behavior… which I learned from being a life-long dog owner.
What In The World Do Dogs And Clients Have In Common?
When they’ve had enough, they let you know in ever-increasing intensity until the issue is resolved.
Each time they see you, they want a little focused attention. If they don’t get it, they’ll pester you until you pay attention to them (see prior statement). Or, they’ll quietly create a mess you’ll have to clean up later.
When something has gone wrong, yelling only increases their anxiety level. If you want to calm them down so you can manage the situation, talk in a calm, confident voice.
They need structure and consistency. Knowing what to expect makes them feel safe and alleviates anxiety.
Not all are motivated by the same thing. You need to understand and use the incentives that work for each one – food, praise, toys, etc.
They want and need you to take charge. ‘Cause, if you’re not in charge, who is?
You must pay attention (to body language, behavior, etc.) and know the warning signs so you can intervene before things get out of hand.
Sometimes they need to be told, “No.” for their own good.
It’s your responsibility to understand their language and how they communicate.
They can’t always express why they’re anxious. Sometimes it’s up to you to figure it out.
If they have bad habits, it’s because you allow them. You teach them how to treat you.
More often than not, they don’t intend to do anything wrong. There’s usually a reason. You just need to figure out the, ‘Why?’
You can’t get along with all of them. Some just aren’t compatible with who you are and how you operate.
Once you’ve earned their trust, know how to communicate with them, and know what motivates them, they’ll do almost anything for you.
Knowing Is (Only) Half The Battle
The other half is acting on that knowledge. But, that’s a whole other blog post.
What Say You?
Do any of these insights shed some light on past interactions you’ve had with clients? How so?
Are there any you’d like to put into action to see how they impact your relationships?