What Clients Say vs. What They Mean
When dealing with clients and potential clients, it’s important to understand that what they’re saying is not the same as what they mean, and how to react. Let’s look at these five examples:
“I’ll keep you in mind.”
You’ll often hear this when you’re prospecting for new business. It’s a nice-sounding sentence that may put you in a hopeful frame of mind. But don’t be fooled. People have lots of other things to think about beside you and your business. It’s your job to stay top-of-mind with them. So, with their permission, add them to your e-mail newsletter list or RSS feed. Ask them to follow you on Twitter or join your social network. Arrange to meet with them in person. Stay in touch with periodic phone calls. Learn other methods of staying in touch.
“We’ll be in touch.”
You may hear this one after someone contacts you to inquire about your services. Once again, don’t get your hopes up. You’ll probably never hear from them again. That is, unless you stay in touch. So, learn the best stay in touch techniques and put them to work here.
“I was just going to call you.”
In response, you may be tempted to ask, “Well, why didn’t you?” And it’s okay – you’re among friends here. We understand how frustrating calling, calling, and calling yet again can be. Seems like it takes forever to get anywhere, doesn’t it? But hold your tongue for a moment and take heart–follow-through is an important aspect of business. With this person, you may be on the verge of doing business. At long last. Be sure to let us know how it goes.
“I love your work!”
People in the creative fields hear this one all the time. At times, it can be a very nice sentiment. Especially if it goes along with being paid at a rate that rewards you for your work. After all, it’s money, not love, that keeps us in business.
“The check is in the mail.”
This line inspired collections expert Leonard Sklar to write a book called The Check is NOT in the Mail: How to Get Paid More in Full, on Time, at Less Cost, and Without Losing Valued Customers. I recommend it highly. I also recommend that you offer payment methods that aren’t dependent on moving paper through the postal system. You can accept credit cards via a merchant account, but watch out, these can get expensive. If a merchant account isn’t in your budget, try online services like PayPal or Google Checkout. Or see if your client can pay you via electronic funds transfer. If you’re hoping to do business with the U.S. federal government, this is their default payment system. If all else fails, check out other options on what to do when a client won’t pay.
What’s your secret client-to-English translation? Let us know!