Afraid to say this word to a client?


Customers want your advice. They value your opinion. They ask for your recommendations.


The problem is that most IT consultants give customers choices. That’s right: it’s a problem. Why? Because customers often want to be given more choices then they probably need. What if you say “no?”


Far more damaging to a customer/consultant relationship is when a customer wants a choice that they shouldn’t make, and the consultant accommodates them. Why do consultants offer up something that they think isn’t a great idea? Because they were taught a number of myths about the service business:

  • customer is always right

  • save the customer money

  • don’t make the customer upset

  • spend the client’s money as if it were your own


Customer: Can I get away with just manually backing up my data to an external drive that I bought at Best Buy and just bring it to my house?


Consultant: Sure, but I would recommend the following instead: blah, blah blah blah blah blah noise not listening no one cares why are you still talking IT dude.


Customer: I saw a similar model Dell on a web site that doesn’t have that fancy case but is much more affordable, will that run this software?


Consultant: It will, but we think you’d be better off with blah blah blah blah customer is smiling and nodding now but ignoring you did you know that?


Customer: Can you give me 4 models to choose from?


Consultant: Sure.


We’re petrified of the word NO. Do you want to pay a subscription fee to read this blog? NO. There, that wasn’t so hard to say, was it? And yet we’re afraid to say it to our clients, because we think they’ll get upset, or think we’re difficult, or not being “accommodating” to their budget.


There’s no question that concepts like TCO (total cost of ownership) are hard to explain to small business owners. But giving the customer the option to make a bad decision is not doing them any service.


Customer: Can I get away with just manually backing up my data to an external drive that I bought at Best Buy and just bring it to my house?


Consultant: That hard drive quality is terrible, manual backups are notoriously unreliable because you’ll forget to to them, and you’re putting your most important information at risk. Why do that?


Customer: I saw a similar model Dell on a web site that doesn’t have that fancy case but is much more affordable, will that run this software?


Consultant: There’s a reason it’s cheap. Use cheap hardware for items that aren’t as critical. Don’t buy that model.


Customer: Can you give me 4 models to choose from?


Consultant: No. I’ll give you one good one, and one more luxurious one and you can choose between those – there are too many possible combinations and you don’t need most of the bells & whistles.


If the customer only wants you to say “yes” and wants to pay you to give them options (and then blame you later for pushing them in the wrong direction), you have one easy answer: “no.”If you ONLY give options that you feel are great, how can you ever feel bad about a recommendation?

Mann Consulting, LLC

282 Second St. #400

San Francisco, CA 94105

Copyright ©2020 Mann Consulting LLC

  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • branding-logo-zendesk
0