As a consultant, I’ve often made recommendations to my clients that were not acted upon. Sometimes the client simply pretended she didn’t hear my advice, and other times she disagreed with me overtly and did the exact opposite.
It’s frustrating to be hired as an expert in a particular area, only to learn that your clients feel they know better. It’s even worse when the client’s change in direction results in diminished business results that affect whether you get re-hired on another project.
We all have clients, whether we’re consultants or not. But whether our clients are official or unofficial, internal or external, it’s critical to our reputations and future success that we take the right actions when the people who depend on us seem to be losing faith.
Listen Without Getting Defensive
When a client ignores your guidance and a project starts to run amuck, it’s easy to feel angry and powerless. Instead, calmly ask your client why she is proceeding in this manner. Has she properly understood what you’re recommending? If so, why isn’t she implementing it? Is it a question of resources, finances, or time? Perhaps someone higher up the chain wants an alternative plan? This conversation is best had in person, but a phone chat is better than none at all.
For the rest of my tips, head over to the full post at Intuit's Fast Track blog.