I tend to be a little fussy…at times. If I have work to do editing a document or developing tweets for a business for instance, I will fuss over it until it sounds, looks and reads as close to my definition of perfect as I can get it. This is a good thing, most of the time; because it injects a certain thoroughness into my work.
I have found however, that there are instances in which this quality can easily lead me to over-step my mandate. A while ago, a potential client asked me to put a proposal together for her, to manage her Facebook Page. I like to tailor each proposal to the specific client, so I needed to do research into what her business is about, and what kind of presence she already had online.
In my research, I got carried away and started to make notes on all the things that I could tweak and recommend in order to make her entire online presence more engaging, relatable and easy to navigate. Whenit was time for us to meet and discuss my proposal, I began by speaking to her about her business’ presence on Facebook, and then launched into a full-blown speech about her website, twitter account, newsletter and LinkedIn profile. Even as I was speaking about these areas, I could tell by the suddenly-glazed-look in her eyes that she was over-whelmed by all the information. When setting up the meeting, all she had wanted to find out, was how I could help her business with regard to her Facebook Page. Suffice it to say, she and I did not close that deal. I had overstepped my mandate and in so doing, thoroughly confused her.
As entrepreneurs, it is easy to let our passions get away from us. We can sometimes, get so carried away by all our “helpful” ideas, that we end up providing no help at all! Having learnt this, I am now able to rein it in. I stay in my lane by exploring the area in which the client has expressed interest; and I explore it thoroughly. I give it my best and then, once I have completed work in that particular area and my client is completely satisfied with my work, I make a recommendation on how their business can further benefit from a different (and often related) service.
With this approach, the client does not feel overwhelmed; because as the service provider, I am not pointing out multiple “deficient areas” all at once. I’ve used the term ‘deficient areas’ because that’s what it feels like to the client. By pointing out an area that needs work, you’re saying that that area is lacking in some way, and pointing out these areas all-at-once is what causes your potential client to feel overwhelmed.
- Be thorough in providing help within the areas in which your client has expressed interest
- Avoid pointing out to your client all the areas that need improvement, all at once
- Provide value in the area that your client is ready to work on, and then make a helpful recommendation in another, related area