My client often wants to do things in ways that I have tried before and am pretty certain will not work. When I try to advise them of a better way to approach the problem, they are clearly "turned off" and seem to lose energy. Is there a way to handle this situation in a more positive way that will keep them excited and engaged?
It is easy to "turn off" folks. Here are a few approaches to help you avoid "turning-off" your client:
- Avoid assigning ownership to the approaches ("your" way vs. "my" way).
- Always acknowledge that there are merits to their approach. Stress that the client's suggested approach is not that much different from the way you prefer.
- Piggyback off the client's idea, making it appear that you are simply enhancing their good approach.
- Isolate the areas of the client approach that you feel will be problematic and explain the reasoning behind your feelings. Collaboratively work on addressing the more problematic components of the client's approach.
- Always respectfully inquire about the rationale for their approach prior to presenting your preferred solution.
- Avoid the ultimate error of not listening very carefully to the clients reasoning behind their approach. You might have missed something critical!
Clients get "turned off" when they feel their ideas are being ignored, disregarded, pushed aside or unfairly rejected. Always take great care not to turn an "engaged" client into a "disengaged" one. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA