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If you’ve got a difficult client that you feel there’s real conflict with at the moment, I’ve got a great tip to share with you.

I used to get quite frustrated when clients didn’t listen to me or value my opinion, and it can often feel like a tennis match, just hitting ideas and opinions back and forth. However, when I started to learn how to coach, and learn more about psychology, I realised that there are two ways that you can influence someone or direct a conversation.

The first way is external by just telling somebody something. So it’s a bit like saying, “You should eat this food”, or “You should go to the gym”. And the other way is internal, which is actually us. For example, being out of breath when we are walking up the stairs, or looking in the mirror and deciding that we really need to go to the gym.

No one really likes being told what to do, so I realised that this second type of influence is much more powerful because it comes from us, and not from somebody else. When I realised this, I decided that I could take another approach to my clients who I thought were difficult to deal with. Instead of hitting the ball backwards and forwards, I came around to their side of the court. I could now see what they were seeing and so I’d ask them better questions to direct their focus. As a result, they were the ones coming up with the decisions, rather than me telling them.

This one thing alone completely transformed how I felt about dealing with those clients, but also the results. They would now agree with a lot more things that I was saying, and so we started to make much more progress because it was a collaborative move forward, rather than a butting of heads.

If you’ve got a really difficult client at the moment or somebody you just feel like you’ve got a bit of conflict with, go and try this – try acknowledging their perspective first, really seeing what they’re seeing from their point of view, and then ask them questions to see if you can change or redirect where they’re focusing.

I’d love to know how you get on so leave me a message in the comments below.

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