April 9, 2021
Written by Scott Lancaster
Read Time 4 Minutes

How to win over nightmare clients (as a designer)

Branding articles, how to build a brand, building a brand, starting a brand.

How to deal with nightmare clients?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 

It’s important to remember that your clients are the heart and soul of your business as a designer.

And when some client's projects can be smooth and stress-free, others can be a pain in the neck.

However, clients pay the bills.

So before doing away with toxic clients, let’s first try to find a way to handle them.

Listen more, talk less

A great way to handle difficult clients is to allow them talk.

Let them air their mind exhaustively.

Deflect attention and answer a question with a question. 

It will keep your client talking. 

It may be more like a monologue and less like a conversation but you’ll learn a lot about them and avoid topics that push your buttons. 

The goal here is to listen intently to get their perspectives during consultation.

Usually the reason the client is being a nightmare is due to something external.

It's very rare a client will just be a pain for no reason. So don't feel weird about making them aware they seem a little tense right now.

Ask them if they are okay...

Meet more often in person

It may seem like good advice to avoid difficult clients, the opposite is actually true.

You should meet with clients face to face, if and wen possible.

Face-to-face communication helps you pick up hidden messages and there is always seem to be a human connection when you see each other.

If you can't meet up in person, video conference calls can be used as an alternative approach.

Try services such as Zoom and Skype, which are both free and super easy to use.

Do things by the book

You probably may not be motivated to give your difficult client your your time and energy.

Maybe because you feel they don’t deserve it.

Or maybe because you feel it's just not worth it as they will hate whatever you do for them anyway.

But this limited mindset is going to harm your brand.

Do your job and do it well. Always.

Don’t take short cuts and don’t drop the ball.

Clarity is vital.  And your reputation is on the line.

Always treat every client like they are valued. Every single time.

Be detail oriented

Details matter.

Specificity down to the smallest nugget of information is vital when you deal with nightmare clients. 

If they mention in passing their favourite basketball player, take note.

If they’ve got a major deadline or a big project they're working on, write it down.

This may not be part of your business with them, but it will you build rapport.

This will make it an easier experience for you in the long run whilst you're working together.

You will be able to find some level to connect with them and win them over with your attention to detail.

Speak to a mentor

A problem shared is a problem solved. 

Let someone who has been in these types of situations speak with you personally about your challenges.

They will likely have some great advice to make your life easier next time a client gives you a hard time.

If you don't feel like you have someone you could call a mentor, you can book a free 15 minute coaching session with a senior design here at Brander. We help hundreds of designers take their careers and income to the next level through mentorship. Simply book your session for free by visiting the link above.


Begin preparing for the new age today


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