January 25, 2019
Deer in the headlights
Sent by Jonathan Stark on January 27th, 2019
Has a client ever put you “on the spot” in a meeting?
It usually goes like this: They ask you a tough question (usually an estimate or prediction of some kind), you don’t have a good answer, your mind goes blank, you start to panic, and then you say something you regret.
When you don’t have a confident answer to a client question, just say so. Then, immediately follow up with what an action that you can take to gain the confidence necessary to deliver a solid answer.
Here’s a template that you can use in almost any situation where you are asked to make a prediction or estimate on the spot. You say:
“That’s unclear at this point but here’s what I propose... I’ll
$action, and give you a solid answer by
$date. Will that be acceptable?”
Here are some possible values for
- “crunch the numbers back at my office”
- “talk to my business partner about our capacity in the near term”
- “speak with your CEO about the desired outcome for this engagement”
- “interview your three largest clients about their experience using your customer portal”
It works. Memorize it right now. Say it out loud until it’s second nature.