When the Client Doesn't Know Best
Our task involves dealing in suggestion, and to make valid suggestions we do need to understand what the client is really looking for. Ironically, it may not be what the client thinks they are looking for.
An example of this was when a client recently came to see more for confidence for a presentation. The client had to present their business case to the bank, in order to get a substantial loan. The client was tired and worn down. They were worried that the business would not manage without the loan. There was a lot of debt in the company and the client felt they needed this loan to overcome a shortfall. However, they also found that their lack of sleep and general exhaustion left them with little enthusiasm for the presentation to the bank.
After working with the client for a while and talking around the issue, it became very clear to the client and myself that the issue lay not with their confidence to go to the bank, but with the client's unease with mounting and increasingly unserviceable debt. The last thing the client needed was to go and borrow more money. Instead we ended up working on the client's ability to address the substantial number of outstanding payments due from clients.
As it turned out, there was no need at all to raise another loan. Just having the confidence to get on the phone and say, 'Hey, we'd really like to close this outstanding invoice', was really all it took. In the end I had a happy client, with a healthier business and a bank that didn't have to lean on him for unserviceable debt. That's quite a win win.
Getting the background is important. A thorough understanding of it will lead to great and relevant suggestions for your client.
Rob Hadley CHt.