After serving more than 300 enterprise clients, I still get surprised when I observe or, identify a client who is acting out of his/her ego. Treats you like you are their subordinate, and you must serve all of their whims and fancies. Typically the person will act as if there is no system and they are above all, and you should be thankful for the instructions you receive from them.
They have their deadlines, and often they will break it with no explanations- I think many of my agency friends will relate to this one. They do not care about your advice and expertise. However, the expectation is that you do their thinking bit and also take responsibility when the output bad.
One more attribute you should quickly be able to relate to is that they would often tell you that the customer is always right or, something like the customer is God. The customer can do whatever he wants- cause you are desperate.
A lot of times these prospects or, existing clients make a toxic environment within your company and create a great deal of dissatisfaction especially if you have many millennials working in your organization. They will waste a lot of time and energy.
Some quick pointers to handle this situation:
#1 Your pipeline should be overflowing, these bullies and easily smell fear and they thrive on this. Make sure you are not dependant on a single client always have plenty that you can go after. You will have the option to walk away, in my past, I have been in multiple toxic relationships, and this always gave me the courage and confidence.
#2 Your energy level plays a significant role in how you handle situations - the higher, the better ;). Get your heart rate at least 100 beats/min ( pushups, jumping, shouting etc.) before you enter a meeting. Your charge will show in every action. When the client/prospect starts to erupt, My man, you got to get to the same level to have that rapport. You don't have to shout or go crazy, but your voice should maintain the firmness and authority. If the meeting is face-to-face, you have to keep it eye-to-eye. Wear a serious expression that you don't appreciate being bullied at and don't intend to be intimidated.
#3 Call the bluff. You're a not a doormat so stop acting like one. State you will solve the issue at hand, and it will not help if the client goes on interrupting and yelling. Don't mince words. Make sure the client understand that your help is only available if they are in a position to cooperate and be civil(This one key).
#4 End of conversation. If the customer does not stop or mend its way, always be polite and at the same time stand your ground. Firmly state it to the client that you will help them once they are willing to treat you with respect. Please make sure they know how to get in touch with you. Then leave.
#5 Focus on the problem. You have been able to establish that you are not the doormat for the customer or, a punching bag. Work on the real issue that the client needs your help. Be the best that you are and shine like you always do. However, I have this feeling that you are going to do that whatsoever :), cause you are fantastic and you are a winner. Right?
P.S. Have been in a position to have hired two smart bully clients in my team as well :), and trust me they know what they are doing, and that's also a thing which makes them awesome taskmasters. Moreover, you should not worry about the not so smart bullies it's just a matter of time when their dilution fades. All the best.
Credits: Saurav Patnaik