difficult clients

Difficult Clients in the Event’s Industry: How to Identify them and Tips on dealing with them

July 25, 2018Janey DaviesEvent Guides

Difficult clients. Every industry has their share of them, but perhaps the worst types appear in the events industry.

Maybe this is because expectations are so high, money is tight, and clients want you to work miracles with a small or non-existent budget. In order to deal effectively with difficult clients, it’s helpful to know that there are different types. One type might not know what they want, another may think they are the expert, whereas others could just like to complain about everything.

Here are the main type of difficult clients:

  • I know it all – this client knows your job and you wonder why they have even hired you.
  • Changing the goalposts – this client will keep changing the deadlines and throw you off your game.
  • There’s no money – this client hates to spend money and expects you to get them freebies.
  • Nothing is good enough – you know this type, whatever you suggest is not good enough.
  • Procrastinating client – this client won’t make any sort of decision.
  • The hysterical client – everything is a drama to this client, it’s probably their first time managing an event.

Try and work out from the above list of difficult clients exactly which one you are dealing with. Then so get in front of the problem.

Here are some tips on how to deal with each one of these difficult clients:

The ‘know it all client’ responds to those who agree with them. Use mirroring body language and try to use the same words that they do. Nod your head a lot at what they say. Touch them on the arm or shoulder to show that you like them. They are then more likely to listen to your suggestions.

‘Changing the goalposts’ client will not remember what they have agreed to. You have to ensure everything is either written down or recorded.And make sure you write down dates and quotes and save their emails.

‘There’s no money’ will obviously have to spend money. Therefore you might have to go above them to find out exactly how much budget is available. If you cannot do this, ask the client in a candid moment and keep this in mind when planning the event.

‘Nothing is good enough’ will be persuaded by previous great reviews by experts in the industry. So show them your portfolio with commendations by your peers to wow the client.

Procrastinating clients need a good shove in the right direction.  Give them deadlines that are slightly earlier than the actual event. For instance, where companies need orders, or quotes have to be finalised etc.

Hysterical clients will benefit from your calm and your experience in the industry. For every disasterous scenario they come up with, diffuse it with previous client examples.

It is always hard when you are dealing with difficult clients. However, under-promise, over deliver, apologise when you are in the wrong, listen properly and try to emphasise with them. This way you can help them achieve their objectives.