Advice for Contractors: How to Recover from a Bad First Impression

Posted on in Umbrella Company.

Even the most experienced and skilled contractor sometimes makes a mistake that causes a poor impression on the client.  To err is human. 

What separates the good contractor from the great one, however, is the ability to recover from a difficult first meeting. 

Following are some tips to help contractors recover from a bad first meeting with a client?

1.       Was a Bad First Impression Really Made?

Sometimes, the contractor and client both have very different interpersonal styles.  In some cases, it’s easy to perceive the meeting as not having gone well, when in fact the client thought it went just fine.  Contractors who are a bit shook up after their first meeting with a client should speak with a colleague, spouse, or confidant about the situation to receive a more objective view of what really happened. 

2.       Take Responsibility

If the client perceives something went awry and confronts the situation directly, accusing the contractor of making a mistake, the best action to take is to quickly apologise for any inconvenience.  It may really have been the client who was at fault, but taking responsibility for wrongs, or perceive wrongs, goes a long way in building the trust of all but the most unreasonable client.

3.       Let go of Negative Emotional Attitudes

For whatever reason, it is human nature to perceive things went worse than they actually did, or that the client perceives the contractor more negatively than he or she really does.  Whatever the contractor or client perceives he or she has done wrong should be let go of immediately.  Ruminating about the situation mentally for hours or days on end only makes it much worse. 

4.       If Any Questions Arise in the Contractor’s Mind…

It’s not always possible to get in touch with a colleague or confidant before meeting with the client again.  In that case, it’s still a wise idea to bring the situation up with the client.  A simple, “I’m sorry about making that negative remark about your company yesterday,” is all that is needed to handle the situation. 

If the client perceived wrong action, they will respect the contractor’s desire to make the situation right.  If no wrong action was perceived, then the client will respect the contractor’s honesty and sincerity even more.  For the contractor, this approach is really a win-win situation. 

5.       Let go of the Entire Situation

Some clients are simply completely unreasonable people.  The contractor may actually be completely in the right.  If, despite his or her best efforts, the relationship cannot be mended, the contractor is best served by simply letting go of the situation.  Not every relationship works out well. 

This is the cumulative experience as seen through the lens of an umbrella company.  Umbrella companies handle all payroll functions for contractors, and come in contact with thousands each year.  

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