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Maintaining a positive relationship with your clients is important for both your business and theirs. However, there are times when your team and your client may disagree about how a project or initiative is being carried out.

In cases like this, you’ll want to find a solution to move forward respectfully, efficiently and collaboratively. To help you do this, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members answered the following question:

“When you disagree with your client about the way to move forward with a particular project or effort, what’s one thing you can do to find a solution and ensure your positive relationship remains intact?”

Here are their best tips for keeping the peace.


1. Listen to the Client First

“Take steps to painstakingly understand the client’s perspective, their issues with your approach and their preferred strategy. Once you’ve fully understood their reasoning, you have an opportunity to present your best case in terms of the client’s own language and concerns. While they may still disagree, it demonstrates that your business begins every conversation with the client in mind.” ~ Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement

2. Find Common Ground and Agree on Next Steps

“Focus on what you agree on, or the good results, and then lay out clear next steps that make it a win for both parties. Finding common ground first is important, but it has to be tied to action to resolve the issues or to hand things off to someone who can get it done. That way, you’ve focused on what was done right and also set them up for a successful end result.” ~ Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting

3. Back Up Your Assertions With Evidence and Data

“Be able to back up your claims with proof. It doesn’t matter what you think clients should do if they don’t agree. They’re paying you to provide a service, so you need to deliver what they want. However, you can use evidence and data to show why your way is likely to drive better results. Then, let them decide with the evidence in hand, and suggest a contingency plan if they still can’t be swayed.” ~ Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

4. Approach the Problem With Empathy

“Many people don’t know how to handle client conflicts properly and end them without escalating the matter. But you need to know how to keep your personal opinions and feelings separate. Don’t take their anger or frustration personally. Try understanding why the problem happened and how it can be resolved.” ~ Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite

5. Remember to L.E.E.D

“When dealing with any client conflict, always remember to L.E.E.D.: Listen, Empathize, Explain and Determine next steps. Often, service providers assume we ‘know’ exactly what the client ‘should’ do. Instead, when conflicts arise, actively listen to what they are really saying. Empathize with their position. Explain any confusion or ambiguity. Then, collectively determine a path forward.” ~ Lauren Marsicano, Marsicano + Leyva PLLC

6. Consider the Client’s End Goal

“Question your client. Take some time to think about the situation and what the client wants to achieve. This will help you come up with a plan that both parties can agree on. Talk to your client and explain your thoughts on the situation. Be open to their suggestions and be prepared to compromise on certain points.” ~ Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

7. Conduct A/B Testing

“One way to resolve this problem is to do an A/B test of both ideas to see which one works best. Often, this will win the client over to your idea, but you must also be prepared to concede if they are correct. This allows you to move forward without argument and keeps the relationship positive. It helps the client to see you as reasonable and as someone who wants the best for them.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

8. Prove Your Expertise

“Clients need to see examples, case studies and other proof that you know what you’re doing. By providing this evidence, you can show them that your way is the best way to achieve the desired results. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you’re the expert, and the client needs your expertise. If you believe that your way is the best way to proceed, explain your reasoning clearly.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress

9. Be Patient

“Differences with clients can be frustrating. But in the professional world, such things are common. However, keeping clients happy is important for every business to grow. So instead of being angry and frustrated with the client, be patient and don’t take the criticisms personally. Also, use facts to explain why you think differently and how it can help their business do better.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

10. Ask Thoughtful Questions

“The first thing I do is get a clear understanding of the problem. To do this, I ask a lot of questions and listen carefully to the client’s responses. I then ask them what they want from this project. Then, I look for common ground between what my client wants and what I think is best for them and come up with a solution that would work for both of us.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

11. Explain Clearly Why You Disagree

“When you disagree with your client, don’t just tell them that you disagree with their opinion. Let them know why you disagree with them. Backing up your opinion with logic makes it easier for them to understand your take on the situation. No matter what you decide on in the end, the outcome of that decision, whether positive or negative, won’t affect your relationship in the long run.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms


Read the original article on smallbiztrends.com

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