The Client from Hell? 3 Questions to know if it’s YOU, or the client!

A Recipe for Disaster

Last week I worked with someone who was very upset about a “defensive and demanding” client. “This woman is one of those clients from Hell” she told me. She was to interview her for an upcoming court case. The woman had already rescheduled several times and then asked my client to meet her 1.5 hours away, adding 3 hours of commute time to the meeting.

On the morning of the meeting, the woman e-mailed with her demand that all questions that would be asked in the interview that day, be sent to her.

This immediately triggered my client. “She has no right to ask me the morning of the interview and besides there is no “list” of questions!”

It was clear to me that her visceral response was out of proportion. As we talked through it and got to the root cause, we uncovered what was really being triggered in her.
It was her feeling that she had lost control. She had agreed to make the drive, something she really didn’t want to do, she had accommodated all the rescheduling and the last minute demand of the interview questions was the last straw.

Added to everything that had already occurred, she now believed the entire interview was set up to be a disaster.

Sure enough… during the interview, the woman was defensive, combative, withholding, and their two personalities clashed.

See, both of these people had strong triggers. My client’s triggers were about her boundaries being breached and her feeling of giving up her power or losing control. The woman she was interviewing had low a self-image and became triggered when she felt that she would look foolish or be perceived as unprepared or dumb.

When the two communicated with one another, it was in such a way that each was triggered by the other and that Dangerous Double Trigger set them both up for tension and conflict.

By knowing who and what triggers you, you’ll get to decide how you will act and react.

The next time you find yourself reacting to a client ask yourself these three questions;

  1. Have I agreed to do something I don’t want to do?
    When we agree to something, like my client above who did not want to reschedule or drive out of town for a meeting, then we are to blame. We can only control our actions and agreeing to drive 3 hours is on you. It may be difficult to say no, but it is important.
  2. Do I feel like I am being judged?
    When we feel judged by others we are often judging ourselves for a perceived shortcoming in ourselves, our skills or our abilities. This can be a “mirrored” response, where the judgment we feel is really our own.
  3. Does being this upset fit this situation?
    Check the facts. Yes she asked for a list of questions but she does not have the power to make you comply. (Nor did she have the power to make you reschedule) and she isn’t calling you names. You have the right and the power to say no. When you do not, the responsibility is yours.

Sometimes personalities clash. When you understand how and why you react the way you do, you have the freedom to choose the way you react.

So take control of your reactions, get with me today and find out how you can live a happy, healthy life designed by YOU!


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