Imagine you’re buying a new phone. You walk into the store and you overhear a conversation with 2 of the sales clerks. One says to the other, “Ugh. One of my customers put an ugly case on the beautiful iPhone I gave them. Customers are so stupid. They always mess things up.” You probably wouldn’t want them helping you buy a new phone. Why would you want that kind of ridicule? Wouldn’t you take your business elsewhere? But somehow, we think it’s OK to say this about clients pretty regularly.
How many times have you heard it – “Clients always mess things up?” Maybe you’ve even said it a few times yourself. It’s easy to get frustrated. But it’s dangerous to make that your default mindset because it makes you hostile towards your clients. Here are a few things to consider before you utter those words again.
Remember Clients Don’t Know What You Know
I know I talk about this a lot, but remember that your clients aren’t as familiar with our professions as we are. Perhaps they do what they think is right, or they don’t know how to do the right thing. Part of a project should include client education to help them not “mess things up.”Your clients don't know what you know. Click To Tweet
Remember It’s Ultimately Their Site
If they want to do something to their site and you disagree, you don’t have to do it, but you can tell them they can’t. Imagine if a car maker said you can’t add a new radio, spoiler, or bumper sticker to your car because it will mess up the car.
Don’t Show Disdain for the People Feeding Your Family
I’m currently reading How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard, and he has a chapter called The Mooch. Basically in the sales industry, the Mooch is someone who takes up your time without any intention to buy. They are not looked at kindly. Joe says you should not use the term, and treat everyone with respect. Even if this person doesn’t buy, they know 250 other people who could.Treat the people who put food on your table with respect. Click To Tweet
This attitude reminded me a lot of how people in my field view current clients…but it’s worse than that because clients are paying us. Maybe think twice before you decide you’re going to insult the people who are putting food on your table. Besides…
Maybe it’s You
I had a friend who would play Halo and every time he lost he was convinced that the person who beat him was cheating. Every single time. Turns out he just wasn’t very good.
I hate to break it to you, but if you think every client messes up the site you give them, maybe it’s you. Maybe the site isn’t as intuitive as you think or you didn’t properly educate the client. Perhaps you were too focused on moving onto the next project that you didn’t wrap this one up with the attention it needed.Spending time educating your clients will help them to not mess everything up. Click To Tweet
We’ve All Been There
You’re not a bad person for thinking this here and there. I know I have. Sometimes you do have a nightmare client or student or customer. It’s easy to get frustrated.
But when you say, “Clients always mess things up,” now you’re putting in your head the idea that because you had one, all them will be the same way. That leads to disrespect and frustration, and it’s bad for business.