Has this happened to you?
I’ve seen this 3 times just in the last few days. I’m not sure if there is a theme going around or maybe it’s the full moon from yesterday. I don’t normally follow the moon cycles but it was hard to miss as it was intense, radiant and felt like it was going to drop out of the sky.
I’ve experienced these things too. With prospects and clients, I’ve felt devalued, unimportant, and I interpreted what they were saying as if I was being insulted.
Recently when someone was complaining about these things to me, in a lighthearted way I responded with, “welcome to the business world.”
I know, here is your ideal: attract easy-going clients who immediately see the value in what you have to offer, who respect your time, are easy to get along with, learn things the first time and won’t ask for anything more. Oh and can afford your fees and are happy to pay them.
It’s possible and there are people out there but that’s not always the case.
Here are examples of some instances I heard about over the past few days, have you experienced any of these?
-A prospect forgot you were coming after you just drove over a half hour (or longer) in traffic to get there.
-Being told that even though you were on time (and battled traffic) that because that person forgot you were coming that they now have to leave in a few minutes to get to another meeting.
-A client shows up 15 minutes late (and might do that consistently).
-A client has told you how to do your job (maybe more than once).
-A client asking for a style of service that you as the provider is uncomfortable doing.
-Going through the full consultation process with a prospect to then be told they can’t afford you.
When you get frustrated or start to lose your temper, rather than burning a potential bridge here are some things to think about:
Not everyone is a good fit. Not everyone who is interested in your product/services is going to be a good fit. You may discover that during the consultation process and you might not. If there is something about your work relationship that isn’t working for you and you’ve attempted to resolve it, it may just boil down to this reality. Expressing this in a compassionate way can also be the easiest way to end a work relationship that isn’t working.
Although I wonder if there is something you haven’t tried yet?
We don’t have to take it personally that someone else has a hard time being on time or keeping a schedule. I’m an “on time” person so when people are late I notice it. If this is you too, although it might feel disrespectful it most often doesn’t have anything to do with you. Can it still be interpreted as disrespectful, yes.
An easy solution is to point it out to them. As an idea you can say “I’ve noticed that you tend to arrive late to our appointments. Is there another time that’s better for you that will have you arrive on time?” Keep in mind too that if they are late, it cuts into their appointment that they’re paying for and you get to end it as you had originally scheduled.
We attract who we’re being. If you want to attract generous people, then be generous. If you want to attract people who are flexible, then be flexible. If you want to attract people who are respectful, then treat others with respect. If you notice that you are dealing with people who are disrespectful, inflexible in a selfish way, or are holding their wallet close, then you may need to do a little bit of self reflection on where you might be doing the same.
I’ve also learned that when something annoys us it’s most likely because:
A) That person is doing something that you know you do but it’s easier to point it out in them and wrong them for it than to take ownership of that behavior.
B) They’re doing something that you wish you were but you’re not. So again it’s easier to wrong them for doing it.
We can express something that we’re disappointed about in a lighthearted way. Growing up most of us are not given good communication skills or taught how to really listen to someone else from a place of non-judgment. We’re also sometimes taught to pick our battles, to not get angry or show emotions on your sleeve, or to make sure not to rock the boat. It can then get confusing as to how as adults we can practice telling others what we are experiencing or what is disappointing to us.
This has taken me a lot of practice too and there is plenty of more practicing to do. I’ve noticed that when I can communicate my disappointment or frustration to someone in a lighthearted way, they can hear it and most people have been receptive to doing something about it to make me happier or to improve our relationship. Not 100% of the time but at least I gave it a shot.
Not everyone will be able to afford or want to pay your rates. This is a hard one because as no one likes to lose business because someone can’t afford it. There are those cases too where I’ve noticed that the person can most likely afford it but they are pushing back on price because it has more to do with what they are willing to spend their money on and how much they are willing to spend on it. It’s up to you decide how firm you are with offering discounts to get the client and when to be okay with letting that client walk away.
Here’s the thing, if they can’t that’s okay. They night know someone who can. If you handle the situation with grace, kindness and enthusiasm they’ll remember you when their friend who can afford your rates or is happy to spend money on services like yours. You never know, you could get a great referral, stranger things have happened.
We can always ask ourselves, “what can I do better?” or “how can I be better?” Although some people strive for perfection, which doesn’t really exist, we can recognize how we can do better and be better. There are many things I can do better – I can do better at writing more blogs, sending out newsletters, increasing my sales and profit margin. I can also be a better marketer, content and program creator and speaker. I love learning and growing. I would get bored if I wasn’t constantly improving myself.
So the next time you notice that you potentially are about to burn a bridge, how stubborn do you really want to be? Take a moment and think about how this might be an opportunity instead to build one.