It can be challenging to plan for a difficult conversation. Of course, you want to do the right thing and communicate. But..well, it feels nearly impossible to know what to say. And worse, you don’t know what the other person will say. Very tricky.
Most of my clients go though something like a pendulum motion. For instance, my client Pete (he’s imaginary but the story is real) acts as a broker for his business service clients. He finds them the best vendor to do the work. When everything works it’s great. If his estimating is off, he’s stuck between the client who wants to pay the original price and the vendor who now needs more money to complete the work. Very, very tricky.
Pete, like most entrepreneurs, hates conflict. I once did a study that revealed 65% of small business owners would rather ignore an issue than try to solve it. Does that number seem high or low to you? (tell me in the comments) Personally, I think it should be higher.
He assumes that his client will be furious with him. He expects that any attempt at reasonable conversation will fail. There’s no whining in business, right? So, he waits and worries.
Half the time he’s feeling righteous, fired up, ready to get the client to bear the new costs. The other half, he’s fearful of the worst. He believes that taking the bullet for unforeseeable events is his job and that clients appreciate that so much they do repeat business with him. What’s he avoiding?
A lot of online business specialists-coaches, VAs, business consultants- worry that when a problem arises clients will…
- hate me
- think I’m lame
- fire me immediately
- be utterly disappointed
- ask for their money back
- talk smack about me on the internet
- find out I don’t know what the heck I’m doing
- [insert your own negative thought here]
None of that is necessarily true. It’s a projection of what you fear will happen. I call it overpredicting failure. Have you come across this? I’m gonna talk more about why we over-predict failure and what to do stop giving away the store on Thursday.
What would you do if you were Pete?