Mastering Difficult Conversations with Clients: 3 Steps to SuccessAug 22, 2023
Today, I want to dive into a topic that's close to my heart—how to navigate challenging conversations with your clients.
We all encounter moments when discussions about rates, policies, scheduling, or other issues become uncomfortable. That's why I want to share three steps that will help you handle these conversations with ease.
Step 1: Focus on the Business, Not Yourself
When it comes to communicating changes or addressing concerns, it's crucial to make it about your business and not about yourself. This shift in perspective can make a significant difference in the way you approach these conversations. For instance, if you're raising your rates, frame it as a business decision: "Starting from September 1st, 2023, Ashley Young Music Studio will have updated rates." By depersonalizing the change, you project professionalism and confidence.
Similarly, when discussing scheduling or policy changes, make it about the studio's operations rather than your personal preferences. Clearly state your business hours and policies, which can minimize the emotional back-and-forth that often comes with these conversations. Remember, by presenting it as a business decision, you're setting clear expectations and making it easier for clients to understand and respect your boundaries.
Step 2: Avoid Over-Explaining
When addressing concerns or communicating changes, it's easy to fall into the trap of over-explaining. However, this can create unnecessary doubts and complications. Keep your communication concise and to the point. For instance, when raising rates, there's no need to provide an exhaustive list of justifications. A simple, direct statement is usually enough. Similarly, if you're declining a request for a lesson outside your normal hours, a straightforward "I'm sorry, but the studio is closed during those times" suffices.
Remember, your clients trust you as a professional. Over-explaining can unintentionally make you seem unsure of your decisions. By being clear, direct, and succinct, you convey confidence and authority in your actions.
Step 3: Be Clear, Direct, and Human
To foster smooth communication, make sure your messages are clear, direct, and easy to understand. Simplify your policies and expectations to minimize confusion. By providing crystal-clear instructions, you eliminate potential areas of confusion that can lead to ongoing conversations. Remember, the goal is to create a seamless experience for your clients.
Additionally, maintain a human touch in your communications. While being direct, ensure your messages still come across as friendly and approachable. Clients appreciate transparency and a personal touch. This will contribute to building trust and a stronger rapport with your clients.
Mastering difficult conversations is a skill that can significantly enhance your teaching practice. By making it about the business, avoiding over-explaining, and prioritizing clear, direct, and human communication, you can navigate challenging conversations with confidence and professionalism. Your ability to handle these situations will not only make your life easier but also contribute to a thriving and harmonious teaching studio.
If you need further guidance in your business, I offer private one-on-one coaching where I help teachers level up their business assets, marketing, and messaging to attract new customers and scale their business. Visit here for more information.