Clients push back. It’s what they do. If you’re a service provider and you work with clients, your clients will not always accept or validate your hard-earned advice the first time you offer it.
Not unlike the toddler who has learned the word “no,” clients will hire you for your expertise and then tell you what you recommend won’t work, that they know better, that some expert article they read online suggested x, or some other maddening thing.
It will make you want to pull your hair out.
Let’s walk through some strategies for setting yourself up for success with clients.
Navigating the sales process
Objections from prospects is a given and answering objections is a part of the sales process.
Sometimes you’ll need to add additional detail and sometimes you’ll need to reestablish credibility and essentially start from zero. Expect it and don’t let it throw you off your game.
If you are recommended by someone the client trusts, that is fantastic. If the person who recommended you was also your client, you’re in a great position because you are coming in vetted.
However, you still may need to jump through some hoops during the sales process and project delivery, so don’t get too comfortable on that pedestal.
Establishing your expertise
I have been on my soapbox about this for the past year or two. EVERYONE is a thought leader about their job function, industry, area of expertise, etc. You are shooting yourself in the foot if you are not creating some kind of content that shows your client what is inside your head.
Think about it, only you know what you know. The answer could be so obvious to you. You might be able to immediately solve a client’s problem, but if you haven’t established your expertise around a particular issue, you are guaranteed to have clients pushing back on your recommendations.
Communicating your process
As an expert, you may forget that your client doesn’t have your professional experience and industry knowledge. You may take your superpowers – the ones the client is paying you for – for granted.
Many projects will require education to get a client up to speed so they can better understand the issue and its root causes, and only after they are clear on their current situation can you begin to position and explain your solution or path out of their predicament.
Over communication, especially with complex projects, is key for your sanity and your project’s success.
Having a track record
The easiest position to be in as a consultant or service provider is being able to say you did something similar for a similar business and you can get this client similar results.
Having a solid track record of success can give clients peace of mind and decreases the likelihood they will push back on your strategies and recommendations.
Clients are people and everybody is juggling a lot of things these days. Be patient and give clients the benefit of the doubt.
Yes, you may have to explain things multiple times in many different ways, but that’s what they are paying you for. It’s part of the deal.