All suffer from verbal slip-ups in life and also in business. However it becomes troublesome and costly when building relationships with client is what you do for a livelihood. Plus it is very damaging when you promise something to your client that you cannot deliver. It is said that words just make up 10% of the communication and the majority is by body language and voice modulation.
However, in business, words are vastly imperative. It can be deadly and damaging if you end up using the wrong words. To help you, avoid below mentioned things when communicating with a client.
1. Mangling a client’s name:
All hate to hear their name being pronounced incorrectly or being called with another name completely. The client will perceive it as your carelessness. You must do proper research in advance; know names and their pronunciation, of the people with whom you are going to work with. Simply ask the person how their name is pronounced and write down with phonetic spelling.
2. Mangling the client’s company name:
Just like a person’s name, his company name is equally important. Know how the company name is pronounced and pay attention on the capitalization and spelling. This is because some company names have intercaps.
3. Quoting a range of rates:
When you and your client discuss rates or deadlines, both you and the client will hear what each believes to be most suitable in the range that you cite. When you quote the price range from minimum to the maximum that you expect, the client will only hear the minimum price while you have all ears for maximum ones.
This will create great disappointment for both you and the client. Thus quote exact numbers and not ranges, when quoting rates or time frame.
4. Making observational comments based on assumption:
It is not appropriate to make assumptions about a client’s relationship or physical state. If you assume that a client is expecting as you observed it through her physical condition or assume the other person accompanying the client must be related to the client and you comment on your thought to client, chances are you must be wrong and that breaks a personal connection.
5. Showing desperation in statements:
When you say that you really are in need of this project, it will just display that your business is unstable, to the client. You might believe the sentence to demonstrate that you will do everything to cater the client; however the client hears that you are desperate. It will make your client to run to your competitors. Instead you can state that serving them to the best is your top priority.
6. Asking what does the client’s company do:
To establish relationships with clients, it’s essential that you ask appropriate questions and listen to the answers accurately. However the questions you are asking must not indicate that you have not done any advance preparation. Clients are attracted to prepared dealers. So do your research to know what your client’s company does and you can then ask question to know more details.
7. Saying that you will put your A-team out for the client:
You might believe you are catering to the client; however it indicates to the client that the rest of your company becomes your B-team. Instead, it is best to state that your entire company is going to put their efforts in serving the best to the client.
8. Saying sorry, but…:
The ‘but’ in your sentence will be interpreted by the client that you cannot make the efforts. The word ‘but’ usually signifies that you give up, so instead of ‘but’ utilize the word ‘and’.
9. Asking to give them lift in your fancy car:
Probably your intention behind offering the client a lift is to show that you are the best and successful in what you do. But the client might think that the reason you own such a fancy car is because you overcharge for your services. The client will not be interested to overpay for your extravagances.
10. Saying that their current vendor or dealer is inadequate:
No matter what you know or believe about your competitors, never badmouth about them as you will instead not come off well. There must be some reason why the client is involved with the current vendor or dealer, who are your competitors. The client must have perceived something good about them to have chosen them. Now that they are your clients you need to look forward for what better services can you provide to stand out.
11. Forcing your choices onto theirs:
You need to provide the clients with what they want. People always believe that what they want is right. And so when you suggest that they should go for something else, you clearly state that they are wrong. You never want to offend a client instead present them with options in a subtle manner and let them choose what they want.
12. Sharing more than the client should know:
You definitely want to establish a bond with the client but this doesn’t mean sharing too much information. Sharing your personal experience or something silly that you did, just to lighten up the mood or show off your wits surely the client will laugh but can be taken as unprofessional or lack of discretion by them. Perhaps your bond with client is a good one, but however casual the relationship might seem never forget they are still your client.
13. Start to gossip with the client:
It is crucial not to gossip with the client, be vigilant of it. This will not just show your lack of discretion but the client will also contemplate that if you talk about the other person behind their back, you might do the same for them too. This goes for gossiping about your other clients to a client as well.
14. Exclaiming “You will love this idea”:
Certainly there seems nothing wrong to say someone will love your idea. But you are actually rejecting the possibility that they might not ‘love’ your suggestion. It is appropriate to propose an idea saying, “I suppose you may be interested in this idea” or “I suppose you might like this one.” You can then ask them for their honest feedback, this way your client will feel respected and valued.
15. Saying that you will fulfill all their needs:
You practically cannot do everything for someone’s needs. Saying that you can do the best of your strengths and specialties will suffice. If the client asks for a service you do not provide recommend them to someone who does offer what they require. This will show your genuine interest in fulfilling the client’s needs.
16. Saying that you know because you learned it from college:
Learning something from college will not qualify your professionalism or standard of quality of your services. You need to convince the client with your work and knowledge that they have chosen the right person for their services.
17. Telling them that it is not a big deal:
If it is a problem that your client has brought to you, it becomes a big deal for you. Problem, doubts or concerns, anything that client’s bring to your attention is surely a big deal for them and so you need to show them your interest and give careful consideration to them. Ask them to tell you more about their trouble, rather stating that it is not a big deal.
18. Telling them not to worry about something:
You do not know how a person takes anxiety about personal or business issues. They might take anxiety as healthy or consider it as a weakness. The point is to not tell your client how they should feel. Just say that you will take care of it.
19. Comparing the client with someone:
You disrespect the client’s concerns or questions by comparing them to someone you know. You might say you sound like my other client or my neighbor, perhaps compare them to your mother, colleague or friend. More than disrespect you are trying to dismiss their issues, so rather tell them that you can help them with their concerns or questions.
20. Saying that they are the first one to come up with an issue:
Some clients do not complain and walk away when they spot an issue. So when you come across a complaint, perhaps there are many other issues that went unspoken. Thus a client with a complaint is doing you a favor by pointing it out. Before it turns to a major problem, learn more about the issue from the client.
21. Telling the client that they don’t seem to understand:
By uttering that the client doesn’t seem to comprehend, you imply that the client is not clever enough to understand you. The issue could be that you are not clear. Instead, you need to insist them to point out what exactly they need clarification on.
22. Saying, ‘May be you are not listening to me’:
It is not only rude but maybe it is the ways you are presenting your case that is making the client not pay attention to you. People can get distracted due to a horde of things. Perhaps you are talking in a scripted or monotonous or in an arrogant tone. Request the client what they want to know about specifically.
23. ‘It sounds good in conjecture…but’:
Saying this you imply that you have a real world perspective and the client’s perspective is completely erroneous. The client will surely feel insulted if their concepts are being ridiculed. Instead you can state that you clearly understand their point but there is some idea you wish to share.
24. Telling the clients they shouldn’t feel the way they are feeling:
You might say, “I understand how you feel, but you really should not because …” The client must be angry or frustrated, so you need to immediately come up with solutions. It is right to say that you understand their situation but then say that you will look for what can be done. It is not right for you to suggest how the client should feel.
25. Telling the client that you cannot deal a problem:
Telling the client that you are not the best person who can handle a problem and that you will send them to another person for this will weaken the client’s trust and credibility on you.
When you know someone else is more qualified in handling a particular problem, mention to the client that you want to serve the best to them and so you would like to bring someone else in and ask the client if it is okay with them.
26. Saying, “that’s a different department”:
Clients are not aware about the divisions of your organization; all they want is a quick solution or answer without wanting to hear your firm’s protocol. Thus convey to them that you know who can help them with their problem or query.
Saying that something is really not your job to provide a solution or answer about, will impart that you are not trying to go above and beyond for the client.
27. Admitting error saying it was silly or idiotic:
You might say to the client that you or any of your colleagues was an idiot or was silly to have made a particular mistake. However a simple mistake makes one human and not an idiot and clients can surely forgive that. Instead you must say that you or the other person made a mistake and convey how you are going to fix it.
28. Dismissing a client by saying it’s not your fault:
Saying the client that something that went wrong is not your or your firm’s fault will display your irresponsibility. The responsible and successful firms and individuals therein will never escape faults or look for a scapegoat. Owning up to the faults is essential and looking for fixes will show your responsibility. It helps to retain the respect that the client has on you and your firm.
29. Saying that your company policy stinks:
Some policies are inevitable and we have to enforce or live by these. However you are representing the company and if you speak in a detached manner about the company policies and beliefs, the client might start wondering if there is something wrong with the company. Instead say that for the client’s benefit you will need to carry out a particular procedure or simply say that it is a common practice.
30. Cursing in front of the client:
Cursing suggests on an employee’s weak personality and professionalism. It indicates you require curse words to convey your point. It can even offend the clients who do not utilize such kind of language. Instead use words like, ‘oh my God’ or ‘my goodness’.
It is essential to control your slip-ups in front of clients and think critically before you say anything to a client. Remember it is very easy to lose a client due to slip-ups or miscommunication however it is relatively difficult to build the reputation for yourself and the firm by communicating appropriately. Thus make sure you avoid saying the above mentioned things to retain clients and their trust.