Are you a people pleaser? Do you go out of your way to be nice to everybody in the hope that they will like you? Does it work for you? Or are you so busy pleasing everybody that you’ve no time to notice whether they do or not? Do you run your business the same way? Are you always doing your utmost to please your customers, all the time, regardless of the cost to you? Have you weighed that up in your balance sheet?
I ask because sometimes it’s better to not please a client. To be bluntly honest in their best interest, even at the cost of upsetting them. A perfect example of this was a hair-dresser I used to go to. I wanted a particular style and she point blank refused to do it saying: “That style won’t suit your face, your hair is too fine to support it and I’m not putting my professional reputation on the line over it.” When I asked to sign a disclamer she refused saying “I don’t offer disclaimers, trust me on this, I do know better on this issue.” Thankfully I did trust her. I continued to use her services until I moved away. Why? Because I valued her honest opinion instead of simply agreeing with me. She was prepared to lose me as a customer rather than compromise her professional standards.
There are times in our professional lives where we are called to on to be brutally honest which can leave us feeling less than nice, even vulnerable to losing a client. How we do it can make all the difference between keeping them or not.
When I get a new enquiry from a client I have a short conversation with them over the phone. There are various reasons for doing it,
1) To find out what their issue is
2) To find out their expectations
3) To find out if they are suitable as a client
Yes, I screen my clients before agreeing to take them on board. I’ve stated before I’m not for everybody, because quite frankly, I’m not! I’m forthright, honest, niggly and often in-your-face-blunt. A client coming to see me, expecting results is in no doubt that there is nowhere to hide. Despite that I am kind, considerate, compassionate and extremely effective! I help them get their results and I do it with honesty, sometimes they don’t like to hear it at first, however, as they start to make the changes they were looking for, they realise they needed that honesty to help them move on their issues.
If I have an enquiry from a prospective client and I honestly don’t think I am what they need I refer them on to someone else, and I’ll tell them why I’m doing it too. I have a way with words and can use them effectively, both in and out of business. Does your way with words work for your business?
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