Don’t Know? Don’t Pretend You Do

A big mistake many consultants and independent professionals make when they are first getting started in the consulting business is that of trying to act like they know it all.

If you don’t….do not pretend that you do.

If a client asks you a question and you don’t know the answer don’t try to fudge it.

A Know It All

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything. In fact, I don’t know many people that do.

Your client won’t look down on you if you don’t have the very answer they are looking for that moment. Of course, if you know the answer great, but if you don’t, what should you do?

The best course of action to take is simply tell them that you’re “not sure at the moment, but will look into it, confirm it and get back to them very soon.”

Next step? Do it. As soon as your meeting is done and you have a chance to find out the answer you should then email or call them with it.

That will actually impress them.

Many times your client will have already forgotten that they asked you for that information. So it really shows your enthusiasm and follow up skills. You end up coming across very professional.

Be the Professional

Even better, because you’re not rushing to blurt out something quick, you can spend a bit more time thinking about it and can then offer your client a suggestion or additional thoughts about how the answer affects them and their business.

The next time a client asks you something and you don’t know the answer, don’t fret and don’t pretend you know something that you don’t. Be the professional and respond like one.

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  • Pavel Rossi

    Michael this is a short post but I think it very good one. This a mistake many people make I believe too.

  • Amen. Faking it is not an option with consulting clients. The minute they find out you’re BS’ing, your credibility is shot. Thanks for the post!

  • John Ibod

    Completely agree! Great post! This is a mistake many consultants make early on in their careers. A good way to get some experience before you start professionally is to shadow others to reduce the amount of times you are stuck for an answer!

    John ibod management consultancy