Before I start, let me clarify that, this is not just another ‘lets use a catchy headline to get more clicks’ post. I mean it in the most literal sense possible and through the article, I am going to reveal how this strategy can positively impact your business, personal life and almost anything that you are pursuing.
Disclaimer : This only applies to clients who are within manageable zone of unprofessionalism (and that degree is completely yours to judge). If you are thoroughly convinced that they are bad clients as mentioned here : 10 warning signs of bad clients then by all means dump them and save your sanity!
What It Means To Be Unprofessional..
What being unprofessional means, depends on your understanding of what being professional means. Sorry, no word play intended here but as far as I can relate, it was meant to be something innately good, something that represents a positive sense of responsibility and passion towards your duty. What it has actually turned out is an excuse to shrug off your duty under the cloak of cliches like ‘don’t blame me for not doing it, that was not my job..’, yeah you know you’ve heard that a million times before, stop grinning, you’ve said it a tad equal number of times too!
Why Being Professional Does Not Work
Now that we are clear on what the real sense of the term is, lets see why that strategy is not something that will earn you many laurels. Technically you are just trying to limit the scope of your responsibilities to get over with it soon; which translates into you not entertaining your clients when asked for a few changes, or favors as you see them.
There is a reason this does not work. People, by nature would love someone who goes out of their way to get things done in their favor. If you are going to be guided by some synthetic guidelines which you created under the name of professionalism, then maybe you will sail through that particular project easily but have you wow-ed your client enough to make him keep referring more referral sales by word of mouth? certainly not! I mean do you even deserve that favor where your client keeps telling more and more people about how awesome you are? Its not in his schedule right? he is still doing it; isnt he being unprofessional then? But you want him to, don’t you? which is exactly why you must start the chain reaction first. The biggest lie your grand ma probably told you is that favors are generated due to luck. Favors are only a reflection of your actions.
If you take one step voluntarily to step out of the lazy zone and help your client by doing more than what was typically expected of you, then you can have that pie.
So, shall I sell my soul off just to please a client?
If that is how you feel about working with people then you shouldn’t be in a profession that requires you to be…..well, working with people. The trick is to balance the conversation, jot down the key points and work on them. Most people don’t know what they are looking for, so its your job to get them acquainted with a few terms if they are not aware. It is not a waste of time, it empowers your client to have a better understanding of the scopes and limitations of the project and to set realistic and precise goals about it. That is something which you wanted in the first place didn’t you? Ranting about a client just because they don’t know the terms of your trade is the worst approach you can take towards your work because guess what? *newsflash* yes, they know that they know less than you, and that is precisely the reason why they have hired you to do it. Don’t ruin your relationship just because they are asking more questions. Maybe they are not aware of the variables used in your business, take time to explain it to them. They are asking because they consider you knowledgeable, take it as a compliment and reciprocate.
While this is exactly what a strictly professional person would never do, because it is ‘not his job’ to do that extra bit. Which is also exactly what will never gain him any more business in the future. And you don’t even have to sell your soul for it, just under-promise and over deliver and you should be good…
Think About The Referrals It Generates
There is a big difference between a successfully completed project and a happily completed project. The later means that your client got more than he expected and walked away happily, only to tell all his friends how awesome you were. A happy client should not be the means to one completed project, but a happy client is the means to more clients. Since the client is in your niche market, 101% chances are, that he is connected with more people in the same niche. People who might also be interested in your services, leads whom you wont otherwise reach by any PPC or social media campaign, referral business; which is the holy grail of any business and constitutes as much as 70% of all business online. And having someone do it for you, for a lifetime, for free, is something which no other strategy will earn you. Now compare this huge benefit to the relatively meager work you had to put in to please them. Who’s smiling now?
And believe me when I say : What would you do with all that free time after you hastily finish the project anyway? You will just be watching those funny cat videos on the internet (and if the client is not satisfied, soon, that will be the only thing that you would have to do). Is it not better to channelize that time here to gain something positive out of it?
Your Competition Is Already Doing It..
Don’t doubt that! With the global economy looking all bearish, providers are abundant and the customer is becoming more of the proverbial ‘king’ like the popular business cliche makes him out to be. There are people willing to go out of their way to help their clients (which would have been yours if you weren’t such a cry baby).
Okay, that is not exactly what I meant!
First Hand Results..
This strategy is different from my help marketing strategy although it follows the same core principle of doing a little bit more than what is expected of you. If being nice to people does not come naturally to you, then you’d better learn that because this is not something that you can do without. Being in the business of consulting and web development, my profession requires me to talk to a lot of people and anyone who has dealt with a lot of people knows that people have different personalities. Some are naturally chatty, some are secretive, some are just confused but the most important part is that all of them trusted in your expertise to sail them through their project, and that is something which you should never take for granted. I follow this method of working religiously and I never had to use any paid form of marketing to advertise my services. In fact, the referral business generated by my happy clients is so much that at one point, the only logical thing I could do was to remove the contact form on my site just to avoid getting any new business inquiries.
Are You Still Reading?
The whole point of this strategy is to choose excellence over convenience and success will follow. If you do just the bare minimum that is outlined in your job description, you will never excel. This applies to everyone working in every field, be it a student or an ambitious billion dollar enterprise.
Have you ever had a seemingly difficult client? How did you handle them? Did you go out of your way and champion the situation or did you sulk under the name of professional ethics? So, how unprofessional are you?