How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients

How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients Clients

How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients Clients

When dealing with clients everyone wants the same end goal, both sides want good quality work. 

Clients pay you for a service so expect that to be fulfilled to the highest of standards. 

However quality work takes time, no matter what sector of work it is. If you want it done to the highest standards you have to understand it can take time. 

Unrealistic expectations is something every business will have experienced, it’s part and parcel of the journey. 

Setting unachievable deadlines can often be the first stumbling block when it comes to dealing with clients.

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Knowing what to do with difficult clients often comes down to experience and having the confidence to say no or be firm with them.

The best way to avoid a barrage of numerous unrealistic targets is constantly talking with clients. 

Like all forms of good customer service, communication with customers is key. 

Dealing with unrealistic expectations from a client can be a bit of a minefield. 

You of course want to keep the customer happy and on board but don’t want to dig yourself into a hole you can’t get out of. 

Any customers will prefer honesty over anything else. 

Simply being a yes man is no good for anyone, you’re going to make both yourself and the client unhappy when you can’t produce what they’ve asked for. 

Knowing what to say and how to say it to the client is key in these situations. You need to be assertive but not aggressive. 

As soon as it becomes a shouting match you risk losing the client all together.

After all 96% of customers will leave you if they experience bad customer service.

62% of businesses would happily pay more for better customer service and convenience.

You need to understand why the client is asking and how you can find a resolution.

Most importantly you need a good healthy relationship with the client. 

When you upset customers you run the risk of the dreaded 1 star review, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Top Tips To Deal With Clients 

How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients Clients

You always want to please your customers. Here are some top tips on how to handle clients:

Trust & Transparency 

This should be your number one priority. 

Building a successful relationship comes with trusting one another and being honest. 

Having trust makes it easier to deal with difficult situations. 

Constant Communication

Radio silence is the worst thing you can do if you feel like what they have asked for is unrealistic. 

Keep the promises that you make and update them constantly with your progress. If you’re having problems let them know.

Have Ground Rules 

Make sure the client knows exactly what to expect when you go into business together. 

Have a detailed discussion on what their goals are and how you can achieve it together, clients value your honesty.

Don’t fall into the trap and over promise at the start. Give examples of previous clients and show them what you do works.

Don’t Be A Yes Man

Learning to say no is one of the most important things you can do to have success in your own business. 

You can’t say yes to everything, you risk draining the company if you give in to unrealistic demands and will cause both your client and your business to be unhappy. 

Take Ownership

Take ownership of the situation. It’s important to the customer that they know that you’re capable of dealing with problems, you don’t want to leave it and let it rumble on. 

Be assertive and confident with them so they can trust you to deal with future tasks. 

Three Steps To Deal With Unrealistic Clients 

How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients

1. Step Into The Clients Shoes

Stepping into the clients shoes will allow you to see the situation from their point of view.

The clients ultimately want what’s best for their business and will constantly strive for improvement. 

With this will eventually come an unrealistic demand, maybe just a little one at first like pushing forward a deadline.

It can be quite easy to go on the defensive and take offence if you think what the client is asking for is too much. 

When you first receive a demand like this the best thing to do for all parties is to just breathe and take a moment. 

For a start you might know their demand is unrealistic but they might not. 

They just want what is best for them, more likely than not they won’t be trying to be annoying or deliberately difficult. 

The client simply might not know the scope of what they’re asking for. 

They aren’t specialists in your field so don’t know what is possible and quite often what is possible within certain timeframes. 

Understanding what the client wants is key for a successful relationship with them. 

Expectations are driven by past experience, pressures they are facing and expectations.  

All they want is what is best for them and their business.

2. Explain Your Situation

Firstly don’t leave anything down to assumptions, go back to the client and make sure you know exactly what it is they are asking for. 

Don’t just assume that your initial feeling is correct and the work they are asking for is unrealistic. 

If you then come to the conclusion that the work is unreasonable make sure you communicate with the client. 

Explain to them that what they are asking for can not be achieved.

Make sure you don’t use complex jargon that they won’t understand, use simplistic language and break it down in full so they are fully aware that you can’t do what they’re asking for. 

Don’t leave any false hope if the task is out of your reach. 

It’s important to be honest in this situation as if you don’t let the client know any of this information you risk damaging the relationship. 

Make sure you’re empathetic whilst talking to the client about an unrealistic expectation. 

You don’t want to come across rude and aggressive or that you don’t just want to do the work for the client. 

Tell them you understand their situation and explain you will look for other resolutions.

3. Resolve The Problem

 

How To Deal With Unrealistic ClientsNo matter what direction the issue goes down you always want to resolve it in some shape or form. 

Leaving it and hoping it will magically do it itself isn’t good for anyone. 

The ideal scenario would be to meet in the middle and find a win-win solution for both sides. This way you keep the client happy and can continue working with them. 

A lot of the work with clients involves compromise and if you can both come to a sensible agreement where both sides are happy with the solution you’re on to a winner. 

This type of solution is the one you’d want to come to, it is made easier if you have a good trusting relationship with the client. 

However in some cases it may not be possible to do the work they are asking. 

If this is the case, politely refuse if their demands are exceeding what you can deliver to them. 

Don’t be aggressive or be on the defensive, just assertively state what they are asking for is unreasonable for you. 

Finally if they are constantly hounding you with unrealistic expectations consider whether it’s essential to keep their business. 

This is always a last resort and you should try everything before you walk away. Sometimes it might be the only option. 

You of course never want it to come to this stage but sometimes for the good of your mental health and workload you may have to consider it. 

You don’t want to overwork yourself and in cases where clients are constantly pressuring you, you may see no way out. 

We’ve all had nightmare clients who are pushy, demanding and just expect too much. 

If it’s causing too much stress and trouble, consider whether you can afford to let them go. Unenjoyable clients can ruin your morale and business. 

Don’t be afraid to put yourself first. 

Client Red Flags

How To Deal With Unrealistic Clients ClientsHopefully you never need to deal with bad clients.

In an ideal world all your clients pay you on time and are a dream to work with, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. 

If you’ve worked with bad clients in the past you know that it can be mentally draining, they can overwork you, make you feel worthless and at times expect you to work for free. 

Top 5 Red Flags 

  1. Late payers
  2. Unrealistic and unnecessary demands 
  3. Aggressive or abusive 
  4. Bad communicators
  5. Word is easily broken 

Sometimes some clients are beyond saving and it is just best for you and your business to just walk away. 

However if the relationship is salvageable they may even respect you more if you attempt to rebuild trust and get back to solid working foundations. 

Not all bad clients mean to be bad, but when picking new businesses to work with try to sieve out the potential bad ones. 

If all your clients appear to be challenging you might need to look at what you’re doing and change something. 

When starting with new clients you need to set boundaries, establish realistic expectations and where you can take the company. 

Most importantly you need to communicate. 

A lot of problems can be resolved quickly if you and the client are in constant communication.

Don’t fall into the trap, don’t over promise and don’t just say yes to everything.

Have the clients you deserve, don’t give into their unrealistic expectations. 

Andrew Wright

Andrew Wright

Andrew joined the DRPT family in 2021. Having graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in History and Journalism, further honing his writing and analytical skills after stints in the United States and Australia, Andrew remains keen to showcase his excellent wordsmith capabilities. He’s doing exactly that, with a plethora of clients seeking out Andrew’s skillset. Away from the world of SEO and writing, Andrew spends his winters following an unrequited love - Sunderland AFC - up and down the country. By summer, he likes to stand in a field and catch cricket balls. Always sporting some kind of injury, we are never short of banter material.

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About The Author

Andrew Wright

Andrew joined the DRPT family in 2021. Having graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in History and Journalism, further honing his writing and analytical skills after stints in the United States and Australia, Andrew remains keen to showcase his excellent wordsmith capabilities. He’s doing exactly that, with a plethora of clients seeking out Andrew’s skillset. Away from the world of SEO and writing, Andrew spends his winters following an unrequited love - Sunderland AFC - up and down the country. By summer, he likes to stand in a field and catch cricket balls. Always sporting some kind of injury, we are never short of banter material.