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The Art of Negotiation: How to Deal with Complex Clients
Blog / For Sales Pros / Jul 19, 2017 / Posted by Eva Wislow / 3137 

The Art of Negotiation: How to Deal with Complex Clients


Negotiation has existed since the beginning of times, as it’s a fundamental part of our existence. We first negotiate with our minds, and then with the exterior world. In the present times, negotiation has become a whole different concept.

I’m mostly referring to the “business negotiation” in which two sides are competing in arguments with the purpose of gaining something. We could call it an art, and we wouldn’t be wrong. Unfortunately, many negotiations raise some sort of conflict between the two sides (business vs client/business vs business).

Every businessman, no matter if he’s an entrepreneur, manager, salesperson, or online marketer, will still have to deal with tough situations that come as a result of a conflictual negotiation with one of their clients (be it business or individual).

“The school never taught you how to deal with such things. The art of negotiation is something that each of us decides if we want to perfect it or not. Yet, if you want to reach business success, developing this skill is going to help you big time.” – Elizabeth Collins, Sales Director at Careers Booster.

Today’s article is all about teaching you how to deal with complex clients that never seem to be happy no matter how many compromises you make. Pay attention and apply!

1. Just Listen

A demanding customer is always going to speak or “yell” a lot. He’s going to want justice, or is greedy, or he owns a totally different perspective than yours. Instead of being forceful, you should sit back and listen patiently. Don’t talk over your customer – just listen.

Once the client is done talking, you can reply with calculated responses based on what you’ve observed in his initial behavior. You can also build rapport (next point) and then take control of the situation. Always “listen”.

2. Establish Rapport #1: Body Language

An interesting statistic shows that a message is only 7% conveyed through the actual words a person is speaking, while 55% is communicated through non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. Smart negotiators that take this activity to the next level are building rapport in order to establish trust, connectivity, and calmness.

Building rapport could be easy or complicated, depending on your expertise. If you keep practicing, you’ll be able to do it really quick and easy. But how do you do it? In very few words, you need to mirror the client’s body language as best as you can.

If he’s sitting with his arms open, you should do the same. If his sitting posture is aimed straight at you, put your legs in front and imitate the behavior. Still, body language is just a part of the entire picture.

3. Establish Rapport #2: Tone of Voice, Words, Expressions

Once you’ve made sure that your body language is similar to your client’s, you should start using the same tone of voice as he does. This is very important because there’s a lot of tension created due to the different types of talking styles. If a person talks silently all the time, he’s never going to appreciate a client that keeps yelling and raising the voice.

Moreover, pay attention to the words and expression your client’s using. Imitating the same style of talking while not giving yourself out is such a powerful tool that helps at creating rapport.

4. Stick to The Facts

If you can’t stick to the facts and your personal opinion gets involved in the discussion, you’re showing poor signs of professionalism. This is a huge problem that many businessmen face. Instead of talking unnecessary details, focus on the scope of the discussion by outlining the facts at the beginning of the negotiation.

Then, you should stick to that “outline” and only discuss what’s important. The partner will also appreciate an organized medium for discussion, and the effectiveness of the talk is going to improve.

5. Prove That You’re a Professional

There are two things that you need to take into consideration when you’re having any type of business negotiation.

a)Emotional Control

If your negotiation partner drives you crazy, you must never show it. You need to stay in control of your emotions and show professionalism. Never use bad words, never be ironic or sarcastic, and never show this weakness.

b) Never Take It Personal

Business is business. You can never take business talk personally, as it’s going to kill you slowly. The issue you’re facing is not a personal one, therefore acting like it is would be a terrifying mistake to do while negotiating. You can trigger the other person to fight back, and it’s all going to turn into chaos.

6. Understand and Aim for the Client’s Barrier

When negotiations don’t work out, it’s often because one side is experiencing a “barrier” that’s preventing him from accepting the deal. Your first task is to figure out which barrier your client has. The second task would be to directly appeal to that barrier by assuaging the fears or leading the discussion in your preferred direction.

In order to figure out the barrier, ask yourself:

a) Is my price something that the client cannot afford?

b) Does the client feel that my value proposition is not directly proportional to the price?

c) Does my client trust the results my product/service promises?

d) Does my client trust me on a personal level?

Figure out their barriers then strike back with relevant comments which purpose is to alienate their dislikes.


Dealing with difficult clients is –guess what- never simple. Every person differs, your mood differs, and also the stakes differ. The more you build your negotiation skills, the better you’ll be capable of managing difficult negotiation circumstances.

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    About Author

    Eva Wislow is an entrepreneur and HR expert from Pittsburgh. She is focusing on helping people break down their limits and achieve career success. Eva finds her inspiration in writing and peace of mind through yoga.

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