Trust in a consulting relationship is highly overrated. All you really have to do is give them the hard sell, play a little hard-to-get and soon you’ll have them eating out of your hand. With that in mind, here are some ways to kill any trust you may have developed with the client by mistake.
- Don’t trust them in the first place. Let them know from the outset that you don’t trust them. Question anything they say and question their motives while you’re at it. Make them prove anything they tell you about their company to prevent you from verifying it yourself.
- Over bill and over-expense. Charge the client for hours you don’t work. Go ahead and take the team out for lunch and charge the client for that too. They may not catch on the first time or two, but they eventually will start to question your invoices. They may never be able to prove it, but will suspect first and then grow to mistrust anything you do.
- Call only when you need them. If you show them that they’re only your friend when you need to make a sale, you’ll send them a message that’s loud and clear that you aren’t interested in their needs.
For more information, see Client Relations for Consultants
- Hide your mistakes. We all screw up, but why does the client need to know about it. That just makes us look bad. Most mistakes can be fixed before it’s even a concern for the client. And what are the chances they’ll find out anyway, right?
- Show up late. Nothing shows the client that you’re in control than when you make them wait. We all know that showing up on time is a sign of weakness. And who wants to appear weak in front of the client?
- Don’t share information until they pay for it. You’re good at what you do so why should you give it away for free? When a client asks you a question, a better approach is to tell them “I’ll give you some ideas about how to do that if you hire us.”
- Focus on your own wants and needs over the client’s. You’re probably more interesting anyway, so talk more about yourself and don’t let them bore you with details about themselves.
Have you ever lost client trust? How did you lose it? How did you gain it back?
If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com
As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. And in case it was not obvious, this week’s blog is intended to be VERY tongue in cheek.