I have always been known as “the realist” one. I have a tendency to tell the truth or at least the things that I can or cannot do the minute I have been asked. But this does not bring you one step further in the eyes of your client if you are in PR business.
Earlier today my boss has told an anecdote from the meeting she attended this weekend. “There were more than 10 people from different countries sitting around a meeting table”, she said. And the client asked for some specific PR services from one of the persons in the meeting in a really short notice. And that person started the sentence with a big “BUT…” . “All of a sudden the weather at the meeting room turned cold” said my boss. Later the client pissed off and argued with some other people at the table and then left the room with no conclusion or solution.
We get so many inquiries during the day from clients; some are doable, some are not. I can see why the clients get frustrated with an answer starting with “no” or “but”. Because the only reason they work with us is to obtain the service that they cannot do themselves. That is why they usually want to see the “undoable” done or at least the effort to make it done. So there is no point in discouraging or disappointing them in the very first minute.
The trick here would to be able to carry the issue from clients table to ours at first stage via using some magical words and phrases like “Yes, we will work on it” or “We will start planning asap” , “Sure, we will let you know about what we can do” etc. Later on after thinking thoroughly or taking a few actions, you and your clients will definitely see whether it is worth doing that or not.
I know we are consultants and we really need to tell the clients that what should be done or not in the first place but before telling what to do, it is quite important to listen to them carefully and understand not only their needs but also their wishes. And let me tell you once again; they are never ready to hear or see “no”s and “but”s . We have got to find more creative ways to make them see what is doable and what is not.