Let Clients Know You’re a Professional

It’s always baffled me that some clients will consult with me for my professional advice, thank me, and then go away and do something completely different or not make any changes at all. You may have had similar experiences with your clients. They may even go so far as to ask you for plans or renderings, specs, swatches, etc., and then you never hear from them again. What’s going on?

I think I may have discovered the key to this mystery. I recently came across an article by marketing consultant Marcia Yudkin in which she relates a case of a hospital whose stroke patients were not continuing exercise therapy after they went home. It turned out that patients were unclear about the qualifications of the physical therapists prescribing the exercise. A consultant brought in to advise the therapy director suggested hanging the therapists’ diplomas, certifications and awards where patients could see them. Reports Yudkin, “Just that change caused patient compliance to jump 34 percent.” The lesson: Don’t be shy about demonstrating your professionalism. Let clients know what your qualifications and experience are, even though they may not have a full appreciation of what they represent.

Yudkin also points out that it’s important how you phrase your advice. While you don’t want to come off sounding dictatorial, you need to use what she calls “a voice of authority” when making recommendations to clients: “Eliminate phrases like ‘I think’ and ‘I feel’ when giving recommendations. Deliver what you know with confidence. Perception of your authority starts with you.” It’s great advice. Will you take it?

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