- Your experience – We all like to make ourselves sound good when we are talking to clients and especially potential clients but there is a limit to how much you can claim to be an expert at. Be very careful that you don’t make claims you can’t deliver on. It is okay to have a network of people that are on your team that deliver a variety of services but don’t claim you can do something when you can’t or never have. If a current client asks for something you don’t already do let them know that you will look into it and figure out the best option for their business. You may decide to outsource it, you may decide to refer it, or you may decide another option is better for your client. But don’t use your clients as guinea pigs unless they know you are doing it.
- Your price – I find it is always better to be upfront about what you charge for things. This doesn’t mean you have to give everyone a list of every price for everything but never do work for a client that they haven’t agreed to the costs up front. This will save you so many headaches later on and it help your clients budget for your services.
- When something is running behind admit it – Timelines change. Projects shift. Your client’s priorities adjust. And often these changes and shifts cause you to run behind on a deliverable. The best way to handle this is let the client know right away and give a new timeline for the deliverable. And if you are shifting things do to other changes they have made let them know at the time the changes are made of the timeline change. No surprises is always the best way to handle things.
- Your availability – As entrepreneurs, we try and often are available 7 days a week. But there are sometimes when you can’t be available. And there are times when you need to step away and recharge. I have found that just telling clients when those times are going to happen makes a world of difference. No one expects you to work all the time and never take a break. And if they do they probably aren’t your ideal client. And if you don’t disappear on them they’ll be fine with you taking a day.
So, there are my top 4 things to remember when you are trying to be honest with clients and potential clients. There are always exceptions to every rule but if you try to stick to these basics your life in business will be easier. And remember, no one is perfect and most people don’t expect you to be perfect. But everyone appreciates honesty.
By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC