7 Ways to Kill Client Trust

client trust
7 Ways to Kill Client Trust

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.

See my related post: Reluctant Clients: Gaining Buy In

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. 

Related Posts
A Consultant’s Positive Ass Kicking
Andrew’s role as account manager for a consulting firm required him to sit in on most of the meetings held by Leah, his project manager at their firm’s most important ...
READ MORE
4 Ways to Enhance a Consultant’s Credibility
Cassandra is a character from Greek Mythology who was granted the gift of prophesy from the god Apollo. It was on the condition that she would fulfill his amorous desires. ...
READ MORE
Why Would You Need a Consultant?
I’ve known people in the business world that don’t believe in using consultants.  These people believe that consultants are over-priced hacks who “borrow your watch to tell you the time”.  ...
READ MORE
The Most Interesting Consultant in the World
He once told a client the time without taking his watch. He once solved a client’s problem…and then left. He once told a client something about his business that he didn’t already ...
READ MORE
Key Consulting Skill: Shut Up
The young batter planted his back foot in the dirt of the batter’s box and assumed his stance.  He took a hard swing at the 2-1 pitch, rocketing it between ...
READ MORE
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
I loved watching Michael Jordan play for The Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.  In those days, everybody seemed to want to “Be like Mike”.  I remember thinking about how isolated ...
READ MORE
Developing Trust With Conflicting Priorities
Why is it that when I ask for a waiter’s recommendation, they suggest one of the most expensive things on the menu? I suppose it’s possible that the most expensive ...
READ MORE
The Top Tool for the Consultant Toolkit
Have you ever watched a TV commercial from a company you didn’t like?  Did it make you wonder who in their right mind would purchase such a product? Have you ever ...
READ MORE
6 Reasons Client Employees Hate Consultants
When a consultant shows up at a new client, it's always a good idea to have one's guard up. It's very possible that he or she is entering hostile territory. ...
READ MORE
The Arsonist and the Fireman
The City’s Hero The city was experiencing a rash of fires.  Arson was usually suspected but the source of the flame could never be proven. Fortunately, the city had a crack firefighting ...
READ MORE
A Consultant’s Positive Ass Kicking
4 Ways to Enhance a Consultant’s Credibility
Why Would You Need a Consultant?
The Most Interesting Consultant in the World
Key Consulting Skill: Shut Up
Michael Jordan and the Consultant’s Public Image
Developing Trust With Conflicting Priorities
The Top Tool for the Consultant Toolkit
6 Reasons Client Employees Hate Consultants
The Arsonist and the Fireman