President of Keener Marketing Solutions
Some things are just better left unsaid. Knowing when to hold your tongue can make the difference between success and failure. To ensure success, avoid letting these phrases slip out of your mouth.
1. What should I do?
You are a consultant, which means it's your duty to be three steps ahead. By asking for your next move, you're defeating the purpose of your professional existence. Stop, and think about this question from a client's perspective. He is already busy and stressed out. The last thing he needs is the additional responsibility of keeping you busy.
Of course, consultants want to stay busy. Aside from begging for your next task, there are ways to arrive at the same outcome without sounding so desperate.
For example, you might spend time reviewing old meeting notes to identify projects that never got off the ground. Or prepare some talking points about a recent case study. Weave these points into your next discussion with the customer. Use this as a launchpad toward new projects and - most importantly - new work for you.
2. You're wrong.
We’ve all heard the cliche that the customer is always right. Nothing in business is absolute, and no one is perfect. This is particularly true of your clients. Despite your clients’ shortcomings, it is important that you reduce unnecessary friction when possible. Although it is your job to provide your opinion, tact is an artform worth practicing.
When you disagree with a client, first try to find common ground. Ease into the disagreement rather than being brash. You might say, “While I certainly agree with your first point, I think we need to spend more time looking at…”
Clients appreciate being challenged so try to be constructive, and avoid totally crushing their egos. Remember, they’re paying the bills.
3. My rates are increasing.
As you add new clients, it is natural for your market value to increase. You’re becoming a scarce commodity, which leads to more money for you.
What about your existing clients? Most clients never think about your ever-increasing value to the market. They’re happy with the work you do, but they’re also content with your current rates.