Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Dealing With Difficult Customers with David Lawson

Show Notes

Today, my special guest is David Lawson. David is from Finding the Light Consultancy and Coaching. David has been in the people helping profession for more than 18 years and has helped over 5000 people to live a better life. Today, we will be talking about how to deal with difficult customers in your business.

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David has the highest level of membership in the 2 peak bodies for counselling in Australia and is accredited to provide professional supervision to their members. David has the second highest level of membership (Professional Certified Coach) with the International Coach Federation – the largest coaching association in the world.

Conflict Between Customers and Our Business

We start by talking about personality types and how different personality types can cause conflict between customers and our business.

“Somewhere on the line, someone is going to ruffle our feathers and this can cause conflict.”

Conflict can be caused by many different things such as:

  • clashing personality types
  • culture
  • gender
  • stress

Everyone is different and this can be a good thing, is it gives us a variety and balance. What your good at… I may not be good at. It’s utilising the strength for everyone.

Personality can also be a culprit when dealing with difficult customers.

3 Different Personality Types

David believes if you understand who you are, this allows you to have a better relationship both personally and professionally.

David puts them into one container and called them the unique self. There are three different personality types:

  • thinker
  • feeler
  • doer

There’s a many different personality types, out which can be reduced to think or feel a doer and those three parts make up unique self.

The Thinker

The thinker they are extremely intelligent and they consider every angle before making a decision. They are details person, they are a perfectionist and they plan things; they finished stuff, they don’t like to draw attention to themselves. They view things as black and white, and they need rules to guide them, and they expect others to follow the rules as well. They like making rules and they value truth and honesty and they need peace and quiet to recharge the batteries.

For some things it can be like a committee meeting going on in their head, so they read before going to bed, or drink alcohol to try and get their mind to slow down enough to be able to sleep. They find it hard to work in a noisy, busy environment.

“We like thinkers because they are consistent, they cause they're extremely loyal and they have high standards. However, thinker as an annoy us, because they're slow to make decisions. They won’t take risks, they seem to be in flexible, they can be very critical and they follow the rules and appear to be unaffectionate.”

The Feeler

The next one is the opposite end of the spectrum that’s the feeler. Now, the feeler is very intuitive and can sometimes be a little psychic. They can pick up the emotions of others, even when they are trying to hide their emotions. They are excellent listeners and love to help people out, even if it’s just a sounding board or every cup of coffee. They like to talk to, even before starting work for the day, and they like hugging people. They at people pleaser to the point that they follow the crowd, and if they know that what the crowd is doing is wrong.

Feelers a slow to give up under the defeated and we’ll continue to forgive others giving others and other change. To a feeler people are more important accomplishments, and relationships are more sacred than outcomes they are encouragers.

“We like feeler is because they are caring, they are loving they make us feel good, they light up the room, they tell good stories, the enthusiastic and impulsive. They annoy us because they hog the conversation, they can be untidy, they know when to be quiet. They pout when they don't get their own way and think life is a party.”

The Doer

 The doer is a straight forward person who has an uncanny clarity, towards life. They look at the big picture, the visionary and charismatic, they love competition, they have a healthy ego, they don’t see obstacles, and they are able to motivate others to accomplish goals. They don’t finish projects as they are moving on to the next project; or they have several projects going on at once.

“We like doers because they're independent, they're confident, they have big ideas and they get things done. They annoy because they have huge egos, they push people to get out comes, they're always thinking about the next project, and with the door, you're either with them, we are against them. Rules are meant to be broken or bent and they take far too many risks.”

Dealing With Difficult Customers

The doer can often be a difficult customer because they do love to negotiate the doer loves a little battle. And when they realize there are talking to the highest person and they talk to someone who’s not the owner, not boss when they find that out, they are going to push that person aside and want to deal with the boss. This is because for doer, it’s about ego and they feel important they need to deal with the top person.


For a Doer, you need to us words like:

·         Not sure if it can be done.

·         Proof it can be done

·         I challenge you to get it done

·         I didn’t think that we could do it.

·         You’ll go far

·         That was a good idea you had.

Stroke their ego and don’t confront them.

For a Thinker, it’s more about communicating with facts and figures. For the thinker it’s really important that you point out specifically what they have done right not just compliment them.

For a Feeler, give them a pat on the back or a hug and say I really like how you make our customers feel.

Top Takeaways to Dealing With Difficult Customers

  1. Listen without interrupting
  2. Match your language with the personality type you are dealing with to help your difficult customer to be understood.
  3. Brainstorm the solution
  4. Follow through, do what you say you are going to do.
  5. If all else fails give them their money back.

Listen to the whole episode number 13 – Dealing With Difficult Customers – David Lawson to get the full details.


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