If your business operates as a professional service provider, your role is to successfully execute a core business function for your client. In this support role, it’s not uncommon to receive requests from a client that don’t align with their brand or stated business goals. While you may want to respond with a “No, that won’t work,” or argue that “goes against the brand,” it is possible to handle these requests in a way that satisfies the customer and helps you maintain delivery of services that align with your client’s values. Here’s what I suggest:
Listen to the Client
- Hear what your client is trying to accomplish, not just the words they use but the end game they are trying to reach.
- Ask clarifying questions to understand the request and then think about how it aligns with their brand or business goals.
- Take notes but don’t interrupt them or assume you know what they want – and provide the notes for their review.
Ask Probative Questions
Don’t be afraid to challenge the client on the issue at hand if you believe that it does not align with their brand or goals. Remember: You’re working together toward achieving one goal–your client’s success! If something doesn’t make sense from this perspective, raise objections. This allows everyone to feel heard and respected.
Keep the Business Goals in Sight
When you’re dealing with a client who isn’t sure what they want or is confident that their way is the best, it can be tempting to just go along with their suggestion. However, this usually leads to a deliverable that doesn’t meet anyone’s expectations. The key is to determine if the direction is on point or if you can suggest a different path. Maybe things are different this time due to a tight budget or timeline; other times it may be that a specific request is new due to a change in operations or service goals.
Once you have your client comfortable with the recommended solution, move forward. Nothing beats having a quality solution delivered and a business goal met.
This post is courtesy of MMC Account Manager Laurie Cullen.