What do you do with a client who keeps breaking their promises? It’s certainly not an easy problem to solve. And, even more difficult when you come to the realization you’re a bigger part of the issue than you originally thought. As is the case with so many complicated circumstances, you probably share a good amount of fault. That isn’t to excuse the promise-breaker. But, it does serve as a reminder that it takes two people to take responsibility.
About Promise-Breaking Clients
It’s a more common phenomenon that you might believe. Not that it’s justified or even reasonably expected. However, clients have many reasons why — yes, some are excuses — for not following through with their word. It could be something beyond their control. Or, just a change of heart (and perhaps, circumstances).
It’s an old rule of life that we teach people how to treat us. Yet often we can struggle when it comes to managing accountability and calling people on broken promises. It just feels like less stress to say nothing; even to just do it ourselves. But here’s the deal: when you decide not to call someone on their broken promise and ill-managed commitment, you’re, albeit inadvertently, being part of the problem. —Forbes.com
Regardless of how often it happens, it does happen. So, that’s something you should be prepared for, because eventually, you’ll run into it. Usually, it’s not out of malice or selfishness, but rather, unrealistic expectations. When it does happen, you should know how to respond.
How to Deal with a Client Who Keeps Breaking their Promises
There’s an old saying in the real estate sales industry, “Buyers are liars.” It comes from a modicum of truth, but is obviously more of an exaggeration. Although, it does point out how people tend to embellish or overstate their resources and intentions. If you have a client who doesn’t always follow through on his or her promises, try these suggestions:
- Remind them. The first time won’t be the last. So, let him or her know what you expected and that you’ll expect them to deliver in the future. You don’t have to be rude, just stern but kind. If you show you’re willing to call them out, he or she will be less likely to do the same again.
- Don’t make up for them. It’s tempting to pick up the slack yourself but that rewards their behavior by avoiding consequences. After all, you value your reputation and take pride in your work. So, you make up for the short fall. But, this will only backfire. You’re only teaching him or her you’re always there to make things right. So, they don’t have to worry about it. That will only lead to more trouble.
- Don’t stay vulnerable. This is the most difficult, though it’s sometimes unavoidable. If it happens more than once and you don’t say anything, expect it to keep happening. Conversely, if you let them know you’re not going to tolerate his or her behavior, you can help break the cycle.
What other suggestions do you have for dealing with a client who breaks their promises? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!
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