I just read a series of great posts on Andrew Sobel’s blog on “Things Clients Hate.” I thought you’d see value in these and so I’ll share the top 10 with you today, plus my notes on each…
- A generic approach – When you approach a client, send them information about your consulting services and how you can help them or give them a presentation, are you customizing it for them…or are you reusing your materials? If the latter, this may be coming off as ‘generic’ to your clients and doesn’t show them you care about THEIR business.
- Overselling – Being eager and determined to land more consulting clients and work hard is good. Trying to push a sale on the first meeting with a prospective client is bad. Get to know your prospect before you try to sell them.
- Long slide decks – Do I really need to say much about this? Keep your presentations short and to the point. Make them visual and keep them light on text. Check out any presentation by Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin for great examples.
- Wanting business immediately – Similar to number 2 yet slightly different. “When you meet with a prospect, you must have a long-term perspective. You must have the attitude that if something works out in the short term, that’s great, but if not, that’s OK too.” says Sobel.
- Not respecting their time – This goes beyond showing up late for client meetings. This is about respecting time in general. Time is a precious commodity. Get into the meeting, say what needs to be said, focus on the goal of the meeting and get out. Don’t let things drag on.
- Overreaching – This is a tough one. The point is to avoid selling services to your client that you’re not great at. It opens up room for a bad result. And it can damage your reputation as a professional. The approach I recommend is to align yourself with other experts and to offer and provide your clients with additional services through your alliances. That way you generate more business but keep the quality at expert level through the whole experience.
- Surprises – They’re nice on birthdays but generally not in business situations. If there are challenging issues to deal with don’t wait until the last minute to spill the beans and tell your client the bad news. Be proactive and upfront at all times. Clients don’t like hearing bad news anytime. But they hate hearing it at the last minute. It gives them reason to doubt you and lack trust in you.
- Going over their head – When you face a disagreement with your client don’t attempt to be sneaky and climb that ladder to discuss the issue with your clients’ boss. I always suggest dealing only with the boss so that issues like this don’t arise. But if you find yourself working with someone slightly down the totem pole it’s in your best interest to work the issue out and if you’re still not able to do it together, Sobel suggests that “you go together” to speak with the boss.
- Making them look bad – This includes things like not owning up and deflecting blame on a negative result, missing deadlines, and not communicating well. To sum this point up…be a professional!
- Not delivering – We talk a lot about this in our Consulting Success System. Hands down delivering the result that you and your client agreed on is the most important aspect of any project engagement. You can be a nice gal, but if you don’t deliver you’re giving your client reason to “not need your services” anymore. Deliver as you’ve promised and you’ll start getting referral business and see your business truly take off.
What are your thoughts on these? Do you have others you can add? Let us know in the comments below.