I have been involved with client where we are having some ‘differences of opinion’ regarding direction, strategies, etc.. I feel badly that there is tension, however, I also feel that I am speaking from what i feel to be the truth and information that will become much more evident down the road. I have been struggling with the fact that the relationship may be harmed, so when i found this article tonight, it helped to get me back on track. I thought it would be a good read for those of us that deal with clients that may not always like what we have to say. Enjoy.
By Nick Harrison | August 4th, 2011 | 0 Comments
When dealing with clients, my goal is to get them the best results possible. Period. I don’t believe in BS or handholding. My opinion is 100% honest all of the time, even if what I tell them hurts their feelings.
One of the most difficult parts of my job is when a client really likes the way something is, but it could be getting much better results if it was changed. The client is likely stuck on it because they received compliments (positive feedback).
Have you ever watched Gordon Ramsey’s or Robert Irvine’s restaurant makeover type shows? What ALWAYS happens? There is a restaurant that is practically empty. They try a menu item they find horrible and the chef/owner always says that people come here just for that dish and that people love it. Then Gordon and Robert say, with great sarcasm, that they can tell because of all the people in the restaurant.
The truth is most people hate giving bad news. The closer you are to that person, the harder it becomes. If you looked unpleasant in an outfit and asked ten of your friends individually what they thought, would they tell you the truth? A few might, but overall probably not.
People like hearing good news. If you get compliments, you don’t want to change it in fear of not getting them anymore. Everyone likes to be liked.
Here is the problem though. Just because you are getting positive feedback and let’s say it is actually accurate, there are a few things you have to consider.
Who it is coming from: I am fortunate to have a friend who I know is 100% honest with me. That said, I know their core competencies and if their opinion isn’t within that core, it has a lot less weight in my mind.
How many compliments: In the grand scheme of things, you have to give some weight to the number of positive feedbacks you receive. Remember, it is much harder for the average person to give positive feedback than negative. So you received 10 great compliments. Yes, but how many people saw it?
Are you achieving the best results? Just because you are getting positive feedback, it doesn’t mean it can’t be better.
In closing, know when to take compliments with a grain of salt. The truth is, you could have the worst website, ad, food, whatever and you will always get people who like it. You will always get people who will give you positive feedback dishonestly.
You need feedback and I wouldn’t launch anything without it. The key is to make sure the source of the feedback is giving you the most accurate data. Ask people in your target market and anonymously for the best results. Set up a form for people to fill out that doesn’t include their name so that they can answer honestly. People are super opinionated and you will get honest results if they can do so privately. A poll of 100-1000 people in your targeted demographic is far more powerful than some compliments here and there.