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How to Handle Demanding Clients.
By Lloyd M. Gordon
Tuesday, 18th November 2008
 
You say the client keeps changing his mind. He says it's just a matter of refining a few requirements. Either way, you've redone the the project three times, gone through the expected profit and are now plunging into the red.

Where do you draw the line on making these "refinements"? And how can you charge for extras and still keep the customer? Here's how:

Tell the client - Many clients don't know what they're asking. Part of doing business is educating the client. This may be the first brochure they've put together or the first parking lot they've had paved.

As problems mount, you may start to think of the difficult client as an amateur. But, like it or not, the customer is still the boss. Therefore, address the client as a fellow professional and handle the change as a valid business deal. You can say: "Of course we'd be delighted to do that, but we'd have to charge X."

As one contractor put it, "If it's critical they won't mind paying for it. But if they think it's free, then everything's critical."

Make it easy for the customer to make a decision.

Not everyone is comfortable making choices. Perhaps the worst situation is when the client is trying to second-guess his boss and doesn't feel free to agree to anything.

A photography company ran into trouble when a new manager couldn't approve a catalog for fear his boss might not like it. In a case like this, figure out who the client is second-guessing and get to them! Ninety percent of the time the boss will think the project is fine, or at least say exactly what needs to be done.

In the above case, the photographer invited the manager's boss to the next presentation. She thought the catalog was great, so the manager calmed down and signed off on the project.

Don't wait until it's too late to discuss added costs.

Clients don't know their demands are excessive until you tell them. Don't wait until you're hurting; you'll only get abrasive and defensive. When you address the issues of extra charges, be certain your voice conveys warmth, concern, and the desire to cooperate with the client.

Mr. Lloyd M. Gordon, President of GEC Consultants, Inc. has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He has concepted more than 390 restaurants and has been consulting for over 44 years. He helps people enter the restaurant industry, points the way to profitability, and helps keep them successful. To discuss "How to Handle Demanding Clients" he can be reached at 847-674-6310. www.gecconsultants.com

© Copyright GEC Consultants, Inc. 2008
All Rights Reserved

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