A few months ago, I did a “one time” consultation with the partners in a law firm. They asked questions about getting traffic to their website and signing up more clients. I looked at their site and told them what I recommended.
At the end of the call, I had a feeling they didn’t like what I told them and would not be following my advice. But hey, I told them what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear.
That’s what we’re paid for, you and I. To tell people what they need to hear, even if they don’t want to hear it. Hey, this ain’t politics.
But what do you do when your clients don’t follow your advice?
You try again. And, if this had been an ongoing consulting arrangement, that’s exactly what I would have done.
When a client doesn’t follow your advice, you bring up the subject again and tell them why you recommend the course you do. You ask them why they don’t want to do what you suggest, or why they prefer to do something else. You have a frank discussion. And you supply them with third party documentation (articles from other experts, studies, and testimonials), proving you know what you’re doing and that your way is best.
But whether it’s legal advice, or marketing advice, sometimes you can’t prove that your advice is the best advice. It’s a matter of judgment, instinct, and experience, not something you can look up in a book.
Well, aside from documenting your advice in writing (hey, gotta cover the backside), you have two choices. You can either go with what the client wants or you can withdraw. If you’ve done your best to convince the client to follow a course of conduct and they choose not to, there’s nothing else you can do.
If you go with what they want and it doesn’t work out, some clients will admit that you were right and change course. That is if it’s not too late. If the decision turns out to be fatal but you did your best to persuade them not to go that way, they lose. Too bad, so sad.
True, some clients will never see the light. They’ll find a way to blame you. And you will lose them as a client. Too bad, so sad. For them.
Clients. You can’t live without ‘em, you can’t bury them in the backyard.