Sometimes telling a client ‘No’ is best.

When working with clients most of us try to follow the golden rule of client services. The mantra we all learned years ago. The chant that rings from the rafters of the old empires and new tech alike. Come on people. Say it with me. “The client is always right.” But sometimes, they don’t always know what they are right about. That’s when a direct and validated ‘No’ allows you to save more than just face, but quite possible the account.

In working with a long list of clients over the years, the one thing I was able to maintain with nearly all of them was an open consultancy. Credibility and trust needs to come from both sides of the desk which only truly happens when both client and vendor are upfront early and often. When a client can ask their consultant or account executive directly “What would you do?” and feel they can get a direct answer is worth its weight in gold, for all involved.

Telling a client that they cannot, or better yet, should not use a specific strategy or product may mean going a different direction but staying with you. Turning a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’.

_Matthew Morris; Consumer Insights Strategist, WUSA9, Washington, DC
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