Imagine you suddenly need life saving surgery.
Would you tell your surgeon how to operate?
Chances are you’d be told, “It’s my way or the highway”.
So as an expert in your field, why would you allow your clients to dictate how you deliver your solution?
But it happens all the time.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of clients.
The first constantly argue with you. It feels like you’re in a constant head butting battle. They don’t take your advice, then complain and don’t pay. In short, they try and bite your fingers off.
The other? They work collaboratively with you to achieve their outcomes. They realise it’s a partnership and they have to play their part and take responsibility.
They’re fun to work with and you even become friends.
I’ve seen a lot of businesses tear their hair out in frustration working with the former.
Why? Couple of reasons.
One is they don’t have enough deals coming in. So if it fogs a mirror, it’s a prospect. The second is they don’t set the agenda from the beginning.
Fix the first by improving your marketing and selling systems so you get better quality clients.
Setting the agenda though takes guts. You have to stand up for what you believe, outline your values and be willing to walk away if you feel working with the prospect is going to cause grief.
A good way to accomplish this is by educating your clients as to how you want to be treated via your marketing collateral. Clients learn about your values in a hands off way which is less confronting than being told face to face. It also allows them to self-select – out!
Here’s advice I gave to two clients recently.
The first is a financial planner who targets 25 to 35 year olds, starting a family and who want to buy their first home.
Their issues tend to be around saving for a deposit, budgeting, getting a mortgage and protecting their family should an unforseen health event or death happen.
So our planner will insist clients accept certain rules around budgeting, putting insurance into place and being accountable for their spending on a regular basis. That they commit to the process and timeframes he outlines.
Or don’t work with him.
Another client builds high end homes for very wealthy people. People who want to “outsource” everything.
But this attitude doesn’t lead to a good result.
So he needs to insist on certain ground rules before he accepts a job. If the client doesn’t agree, he doesn’t have to take on the job.
You don’t have to be arrogant about it.
Just be “centred” and calm when you communicate.
Now this isn’t always easy, especially when you need the work.
But not standing for your values and how you wish to be treated will inevitably cause issues down the track. Your choice.
Rashid & Barbara.
P.S. I’ve created a video on this which you can watch at http://youtu.be/9CHcEKLWuHM