There are seemingly endless reasons our clients do not take our advice. Challenges like internal disagreements, budget constraints, and rotating decision-makers can cause countless proposals to be refused or ignored, regardless of how obvious the need may appear.
While clients may say they are hesitant to rely too heavily on vendor advice, have had negative past experiences, or even claim we lack understanding of the situation, all of these excuses may point to an overall lack of trust that can keep clients from believing your recommendation is the best solution.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, expertise is not the key to getting your advice heard and taken.
Getting clients to take your advice requires credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation, and while most of us are quick to emphasize the credibility and reliability of our solutions, we tend to overlook the importance of intimacy and self-orientation.
No matter how good your advice may be, your solutions are not the cornerstone of the relationship. Your client’s needs are.
And the key to understanding your client’s needs is effective communication. Here’s how to get there from here.
Listen to Show Empathy and Understanding
No matter the industry or your client’s role in the company, it is essential to recognize that most professionals are more knowledgeable than ever. With ever more information and solutions accessible in moments via the internet, an advisor’s value as an information provider is practically obsolete.
While our clients may hire us for our expertise, they also bring their own expertise to the table. And they want to know that you recognize what they bring and what’s at stake for them. Actively listening – to their feelings, emotions, needs, and preferences in addition to the problem they have – allows them to feel heard and understood.
Ask more and better questions about their goals, concerns, and challenges to show you are genuinely there to help provide real solutions that will contribute to their success. Emotional intelligence and listening skills demonstrate empathy, respect, and support that will enable them to overcome their fears and doubts, making them more likely to trust and act on your recommendations.
Focus on What It Means for Them
When providing in-depth solutions, beware of defaulting to showing off how much you know.
Instead, phrase your advice confidently by focusing on your client’s needs to:
- Clarify complex concepts by using simpler, more straightforward ideas.
- Make your advice easy to implement by breaking it down into smaller steps that can lead to gradual improvement.
- Provide practical guidelines for proceeding with the next steps.
- Be humble and willing to pivot the approach if/when their needs change.
Finally, anticipate, acknowledge, and address any concerns, doubts, or objections your clients might have, and give them space and time to think through your advice.
They will perceive greater value in your advice when the rationale behind your recommendations aligns with their goals and contributes to their success over time.
Provide Evidence to Support Your Advice
To communicate how your advice aligns with your client’s goals and needs, show evidence of how your recommendations can impact their performance, profitability, or reputation.
Share success stories, case studies, and client testimonials to illustrate your points and make them more relatable while demonstrating other positive outcomes that bolster credibility and help clients recognize potential benefits.
While charts and graphs can enhance understanding and make your advice more compelling, sharing real-life stories of how others have benefited from similar advice can inspire and encourage your clients to act.
Involve Your Clients in the Process
When developing and implementing recommendations for clients, it’s easy to forget that they also know what they are doing. After all, it’s their business. Show your clients that you value their experience and work as a partner, not an authority.
Involving them in the process, seeking their input and feedback, and incorporating their suggestions and preferences can increase their ownership and commitment to the solution and address any issues or objections in real time.
This ongoing engagement reinforces your commitment and helps overcome potential roadblocks while recognizing and celebrating the positive outcomes.
Reinforcing the value of your recommendations and encouraging future cooperation begins with effective communication, empathy, and understanding. Trustworthy relationships deliver value and increase clients’ likelihood of embracing your recommendations sooner and more efficiently.
At the end of the day, being right only matters if you’re being heard.
Trust-Based Resources to Maximize Your Team’s Potential:
- Think More Expertise Will Make You More Trusted? Think Again.
- Take the Trust Quotient (TQ) Assessment.
- Insider’s Guide, The TQ: What You Need to Know.
- Subscribe to our newsletter.
- Follow us on LinkedIn or Instagram.
- Contact us directly to encourage cultural change in your organization through a trust-centric framework that pulls everyone together.