Challenge Your Client
Clients are always right.
We're so used to repeating that mantra that I think at times we lose sight of what it actually means to have a strong Client/Provider relationship.
Sure, the client is often right - their needs are critical and as a product or service provider, it's your role to make sure their needs are met. Sometimes, we need to bend over backwards to make sure their needs are met.
But clients are also human. They also deal with imperfect information and they also need good advice.
If we're doing our jobs, we should be experts in our disciplines. Which means, that in many respects, we know more than the client does about our field. About how our services may be utilized in their sectors. About how our work should be leveraged to best effect, so to speak.
So, while the client may be right, it's also important to exercise judgement in client interactions.
In other words, they may also be wrong.
And if that's the case, we need to (appropriately) challenge them. We mustn't 'hold back' in the hopes of simply closing the deal. Especially if their inaccurate understanding will hurt them in the longer term.
So, in those situations, we need to be more than a sales rep. We need to be an adviser.
We need to be able to engage in an informed conversation about the nuances of what they need, their requirements and how what we do will change the game for them. We need to be able to logically debate the merits and demerits of their situation and their understanding of the market. We need to be able to dispassionately evaluate what we offer compared to what they need.
So while the client is often right, they are also often wrong.
Good clients know this and welcome the conversation. And as trusted advisers, it's our role to engage in them.