Yesterday we covered several things you should never say to a client - but now we will shift focus toward topics you shouldn't be afraid to bring up when dealing with a client.
Many folks find that, when it comes to creating client relationships, rather than having over-sharing issues they struggle with the idea of speaking up, making the client aware of issues or setting limitations.
Whether this stems from a general shyness, a fear of letting the client down or simply inability to put the ideas together - it can have tough consequences. If you are hesitant to bring up certain topics with your client or customer then you run the risk of issues, complications, being overworked, underpaid or blamed for problems.
Here are four topics you should never be afraid to bring up with a client:
Although it is always important to avoid negative portrayals in a client meeting or project setting it is okay to be honest about what you can and cannot do. Whether it is because of time, skills, or platforms - if you are not certain that the project or an aspect of the project can be done then you have a responsibility to tell the client up front. If you fail to do so you may put yourself in a quagmire or volunteer for what could seem like an impossible task. A simple solution to this is to be honest, identify what you are capable of accomplishing or contributing and then recommend a peer or service for the rest.
If a client presents you with an end date, evaluate it before you agree. Take into account the man hours you may need, the review process, any type of printing, publishing, shipping, hosting or foreseeable delays. If a timeline seems absolutely impossible then inform your client and try to reach a new compromise. The key to success here is explaining why you need the extra time - maybe it's for quality control, maybe its to allow time for review or maybe a "just in case" scenario. Not bringing up issues like this can affect your work life balance and other projects you may have.
Very rarely in a business operation can you bluntly ask for more money - and even in those rare situations you better come correct. If you feel a client has low-balled you, or will cost you money, or will just barely get by then bring the issue up in a professional manner. If you back up your claims with estimates, figures and examples then they will take your statements with merit and not just view you as money hungry. It's okay to want more financing if it has a precedent or vital need within the project.
It may look easy but most ICs struggle with saying no. If you are overwhelmed, understaffed or just running behind on other projects already then it is okay to say no. Or maybe they haven't offered enough money to make it lucrative, or maybe the hours would be too much or the location is too far - if there is justification then there is no need to be afraid of saying no.
News and notes for independent workers and their clients. This is the September 26, 2016 edition.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.