Accounting. Marketing. Finance. Law. Realty. What do each of these sectors have in common? Although they come from all ends of the business world, each of these fields involves working for a client. In business, the client relationship is unique. A client should always be able to trust his service provider, expect top-notch deliverables, and have an open line of communication.
As a marketer, graphic designer, lawyer, accountant, or any type of service provider, you have special obligations to your client. And one of them is to avoid uttering the following statements. Doing so will help you keep a healthy, profitable relationship going strong.
1. “You’re going to love this idea.”
It sounds upbeat. It sounds positive. It sounds optimistic. What’s wrong with telling a client that they’ll love your idea? Your client wants to make decisions for themselves. They want to feel like you value their feedback. By telling them that they’ll love your idea, you’re dismissing the possibility that they may not love it. Instead, say something like, “We think you’ll be interested in this option,” or, “I think you’ll see the value in this idea.” Then, ask them what they think. Open the door for feedback and honest responses. Your client will feel valued and respected.
2. “I offer every service you’ll need for everything.”
Perhaps you wouldn’t say it in these words exactly, but regardless, one should never present the idea that they can offer everything to the client. Every professional or small business has its own set of strengths and specialties, and you should definitely pitch those when pitching your services. However, recognize that you can’t be everything to everyone. If your client truly requires a service you don’t offer, recommend them to someone who does. In the end, the client will appreciate you for the genuine interest in their needs.
3. “My last client said ‘blah, blah, blah.’”
Maintaining trust and respect with a client is crucial. Many clients go back to their service provider year after year simply because they have built up a solid foundation of respect. If you talk about other clients, gossip, or speak poorly of others within the industry or general community, it shows that you cannot be trusted. Always take the high road and avoid petty talk about others. It’s the easiest way to keep integrity in your business.
4. “Your problem is X, Y, Z.”
Telling a client about their problems is a quick way to get them to walk out the door. Most likely, your client knows their problems. That’s why they’re in your office. Instead, focus on solutions. Ask a client what goals they have for the future, what issue they’d like to overcome. Then tell them how you can help them. Taking this approach gets clients excited about your services and the opportunity to work with you.
5. “I learned it in business school.”
In our society learning something in business school does not qualify you as an expert or professional. Instead, it can make a client feel like everything you know comes from a textbook, not real world experiences or years of practice. It is your job to instill confidence in your client. Convince them that they chose the right consultant for the job. If you want to show your client that you are knowledgeable in an area, refer to your years of experience, past client work, or the history of firms or agencies that you’ve teamed with. This helps your client feel excited about your expertise and more willing to take your advice.
What you say, and how you say it, can determine the quality and the length of your client relationships. Remember, simply thinking before you speak will go a long way toward helping you build long-lasting trust with the people you do business with.
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