Professional: Precise – Respect

Leadership requires tactfulness.

  • People want to be told the hard things. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” is a common question.
    • When you need to have a hard conversation, how do you set it up so the client feels you cared enough about them to tell them, and allow them to feel your respect for them?
platform: What to DO to GET Referrals      
program: Professional   
pin:  Precise
point:  Respect

Referral Trigger for the week of January 18, 2021

27 Responses to Professional: Precise – Respect
  1. Bill Courtright
    January 15, 2021 | 9:33 am

    One way to navigate “tough conversations” successfully is to adopt an empathic position. Ask yourself, “if I were receiving this news, how would the news make me feel? How would I want to be spoken to? How might I be comforted? How could I benefit?” If you take the time to ponder then plan, the hard conversations actually establish credibility, strengthen connections, and empower growth.

  2. Elly Gray
    January 15, 2021 | 9:44 am

    I believe that difficult conversations require a conversation not an email or text. I always try to empathize with my clients and let them know that although I’m delivering difficult news that I care. I also try to call out difficult news as soon as I get it. The longer you sit on it the more difficult it is to make the call!

  3. Blake Beyer
    January 15, 2021 | 9:53 am

    I do think this is a subject that requires a certain amount of judgement and discretion, as no one is going to want to hear “so and so is crazy” BEFORE they break up with said crazy person.

    All joking aside, when it comes to a hard conversation, bad news does not get better with age. If it is an issue that requires immediate attention, stabilize the situation before reaching out to your client.

    It is important to not care who gets blame or credit, and to define the problem at hand and then focus on possible solutions. You should already have several solutions fleshed out, with pros/cons and a recommendation. Even better is to bring up the problem and explain how you’ve already solved it, and then you just review the outcome and impacts.

    If it is a situation that requires the client to solve with additional people, time, or money; make it as clear and simple as possible, and act as a trusted advisor in shepherding their resources as responsibly as possible.
    Blake Beyer

  4. mark biller
    January 15, 2021 | 12:13 pm

    i get right to the point if Ackerman is at fault I apologize always have some sort of solution if possible .ie credit on account etc…
    If there is
    no way of softening the situation I ask what I can do to help ease their frustration with Ackerman.

  5. Mark Biller
    January 15, 2021 | 12:27 pm

    The first thing I due is respond……I face the situation head on. I also try and source the problem first at Ackerman so I have a clear understanding from both sides as to what happened. I then will offer to get in between Ackerman corporate and the customer. So that the customer feels that I’m trying to resolve the problem. I offer credit if necessary or getting a tech to the home immediately if possible. Howver some problems just cvant be solved and in those cases I ask what can I do to help the customer fell better about the situation.

  6. Ian King
    January 15, 2021 | 12:46 pm

    I prepare a client for a hard conversation from the beginning of our professional relationship by setting the expectation. By having the upfront expectation, it creates a sense of partnership because we are working together to achieve the best outcome. In my industry of life/disability/long term care insurance, all of our solutions for clients are based on the health of the insured. The hardest conversations I have are based around a prospective client’s lack of insurability or problems that may arise during the underwriting process, which are handled with immediacy, compassion, and transparency.

  7. Ben Ragin
    January 15, 2021 | 3:07 pm

    Having hard conversations is an unfortunate part of many people’s business. In my world it could be a premium increase or finding out that a loss is not covered. In any case my tactics are simple. Tackle it head on and immediately after getting all the details. This shows the client that this is a priority for me, and I want to find any available solution for them. Lastly, it’s always face to face or by phone. Never, ever, ever, is hard news delivered by email.

  8. Aaron Morrison
    January 15, 2021 | 4:17 pm

    At the outset of any client relationship I feel it’s important to set expectations so the client knows exactly what’s going to happen and how.

    If a breakdown occurs the client should be contacted as soon as possible, the issue acknowledged and a solution proposed, as well as a plan to avoid the issue in the future, if appropriate to the situation.

    Acknowledge the situation and how it impacts the client, propose a solution, verify the client is satisfied with the plan, and commit to the process moving forward.

  9. Chris Marek
    January 17, 2021 | 6:25 am

    Empathy is crucial. Straight direct conversation is what I find best. Immediacy is also important. Open communication that is forthright. I often express my displeasure also and commit that it will be handled. Ownership and accountability need to be relayed. Issues happen for sure – I have found providing empathy, ownership, and immediacy usually make tough conversations a bit easier.

  10. Brad Cohen
    January 18, 2021 | 6:17 pm

    Tough conversations should be done in person and if not over the phone. I think being upfront and explaining right away what happened is important too. It is why I try to over communicate with clients about what is going on

  11. Cassie Hanuscak
    January 18, 2021 | 8:45 pm

    “Every design ends in something you can see, but great design begins with something you can’t.” Great design is ultimately problem solving through visual communication.

    In order to solve a problem, you must first define it. It is my responsibility to ensure that the problem is discussed verbally in depth early on at the start of any project. There should always be a continuing conversation to consistently reevaluate the problem as it is being addressed. It is ultimately my job to produce a visual solution to a specific challenge, and the best way to do this is to empathize with the needs and the wants of the end user. Context awareness is very important to give the solution purpose. I ask the difficult questions to better understand, I am clear about my intentions, and I explain my decisions. Transparency will bring people on board.

    Cassie Hanuscak, Caslyn Branding & Design

  12. Alexander Christensen
    January 19, 2021 | 9:45 am

    In my line of business, there are often situations that are out of my and my client’s control. In situations like this, I communicate the issue to my client as soon as possible. If the issue is our fault, I own up to it immediately. I then let the client know what we can do to resolve it. These conversations are easier when addressed immediately but tend to be a challenge if left unaddressed.

    Alexander Christensen,
    Bulldog Movers, Buckhead Movers, & Classic Design Services

  13. Mark Galvin
    January 19, 2021 | 9:57 am

    Whenever I see a problem, my first step is to call the person and ask questions to confirm that there really is a problem. Sometime I find that they have made a calculated move that I do not agree with. If that is the case, I may say nothing. If I think they are wrong, I will say “May I share my thoughts about this action?” Then I will go on to tell them they are the expert in their space and that I only want to help. Then, I will give them the honest feedback.

  14. Robert Steinhardt
    January 19, 2021 | 10:14 am

    So the first thing I do is make sure that I tell them as soon as you know, bad news does not age well. Secondly I always pick up the phone and call them if it’s bad news, and if it’s really bad news try and meet them in person. This shows that you care and you respect them.

    Being honest about why something happened, and trying to make sure whatever news it was, I prepared them for it, will always help as well.

  15. Blake Hampton
    January 19, 2021 | 11:25 am

    In my line of work as a physical therapist, situations arise on occasions where a patient’s particular problem is not likely to be resolved by physical therapy or physical therapy alone and warrants further intervention by another healthcare specialist. It is in these scenarios, that I address the nature of the problem with the client to educate them on what is going on with their body and why this particular injury may not be best resolved with physical therapy. I then allow for them to ask me as many questions as necessary until they feel comfortable with the diagnosis and set them up with a referral to another provider or specialist that will be able to assist them in achieving their goals. I know that I can’t fix everything, but I have a good network of doctors and other health care professionals at my disposal to still help my client get to where they want to be.

  16. Stacie Conner
    January 19, 2021 | 11:37 am

    In my business clients don’t always get everything they want, or think they are entitled to, so I prepare them for all of the possibilities up front. By managing their expectations and focusing on their priorities, it is easier to tell them bad news and then focus on how to overcome that result. I always remind my clients that everything is a process, and we may lose a few battles, but the goal is to win the war.

  17. Sandy Minnes
    January 19, 2021 | 11:59 am

    When delivering bad news, it is important to think through all the options that are available ahead of time and create an action plan. Bad news does not get better with time, so riping the bandaid quickly is my philosophy. It is important to communicate on the phone or in-person with the customer to create a dialogue, to consider any feedback, and answer any questions that they may have. If for any reason, I have caused the issue, I will own the error. I find taking responsibility and having a solution goes a long way when someone is angry or disappointed.

  18. Austin Miller
    January 19, 2021 | 12:02 pm

    I always give my clients bad news as soon as possible due to the time sensitive nature of a commercial real estate transaction. It’s always best practice to address an issue head on and to provide multiple solutions, if applicable. If the problem was caused on my end I take ownership of the mistake and endeavor to make it a learning experience once it’s been resolved.

  19. Jen Holbrook Sells
    January 19, 2021 | 12:41 pm

    I believe in the statement above that says “Leadership requires tactfulness”. As I’ve grown into my management and leadership skills, I’ve also learned that leadership sometimes requires boldness, forthrightness, humor, empathy, patience, and a whole host of other skills.
    Nothing tests the resolve of a leader like having hard conversations. As I’ve learned, sometimes it’s not necessarily bad news but a communication of thought and concern.
    Sometimes relating a difficult truth, question, or concern takes all of the leadership traits listed or sometimes it takes just one.
    As I’ve grown in leadership, I’ve also learned the difficult skill of communication by speaking and then shutting up. After delivering hard news or difficult communication, sometimes leadership requires silence.

  20. Michael Smith
    January 19, 2021 | 2:47 pm

    Most of the time when there’s a difficult conversation, it’s face to face with the client. If not, then it’s a phone call. I usually do what research I can regarding the problem and am prepared to discuss the situation.

    1. Whenever possible, make sure the news comes from me instead of someone else.
    2. Know that most of the time they just want the problem fixed.
    3. Listen – they want to be heard.
    4. Excuses don’t help the conversation.
    5. See item 2.
    6. Don’t escalate the problem.
    7. Own what is mine.
    8. See item 3.
    9. I can’t make anyone own what’s theirs.
    10. Don’t take any abuse.
    11. History is nice but not necessary.

    In summary – prepare for a respectful conversation, have a respectful conversation, respectfully clean up what can be cleaned up.

    Press on …

    Mike Smith
    Momentum Construction
    (404) 551-4368

  21. Jamie Wheeler
    January 20, 2021 | 11:02 am

    3 things to highlight:
    First – Do something you enjoy and are passionate about. This creates genuine care which will seen and felt by your clients.
    Second – Make the 1st opportunity & all future correspondence GREAT! Always building rapport. Do this by being respectful, communicative, direct, honest, anticipate their needs, establish expectations etc. and 65% of the work is already done for you!
    Then when we get to the nitty-gritty with your client, stating or asking for their personal info, I frame it in one of two ways.
    One: Either directly – “No one wants to hear this but to best serve you, it’s important for me to tell you…..
    OR Two: I use a personalized compliment sandwich – like: “You mentioned you really like your cardiologist, that’s FANTASTIC! It’s always so disheartening to learn of someone’s dissatisfaction with their doctors! And what is your doctor’s name and where are they located? … Great – and because you say that they do a good job, I’ll keep that in mind for references… What type of things are they monitoring for you? Etc.

  22. Greg McCahan
    January 21, 2021 | 9:02 am

    I’d prefer to deliver difficult news in person and present alternatives. Sometimes this means having a referral partner that is a better fit for a particular situation. At a community bank I have more resources to help a client when something unplanned happens.

  23. Scott McMahan
    January 22, 2021 | 10:07 am

    Difficult conversations do not come out of nowhere. In litigation, it is important to assess the strengths and weaknesses of every case so I can properly manage the client’s expectations.

    When it is time to have a difficult conversation, I will ask for a phone call or an in-person meeting. Such conversations always include a lot of questions and email is a bad forum for answering those questions. With an in-person meeting, I can answer the client’s questions for as long as they need.

  24. Heather Nadler
    January 22, 2021 | 11:26 am

    I find that difficult conversations are always easier when solutions are presented at the same time. Even if it’s just advising of a tiny step that can be taken toward getting the outcome we want, I always try to deliver a “and here’s what we are going to do about it” when I share difficult news with a client. This shows the client that I care about getting them their result and that because they are important to me I’ve given careful consideration to how we can keep things moving forward.

  25. Liz Bankston
    January 22, 2021 | 12:19 pm

    Always be a good listener. Empathy is what people want first. And then offer them choices to solve their needs.

  26. Nate Sampson
    January 22, 2021 | 1:36 pm

    At times, there are most definitely tough conversations to be had about defects that were found during a home inspection and unfortunately, no-one is ever happy to hear when there are defects. When delivering this type of information, I make sure to maintain an empathetic and diplomatic attitude which really does go a long way in guiding how the information is received. These conversations can quickly escalate because of the emotional factor present during the home buying & selling process. It’s a stressful process! What I have found to be the biggest help is to intently listen so that I can offer suggestions as to a reasonable solution for my client. I take pride in being a great listener and remain open to all communication even long after I’ve completed the home inspection.

  27. Ralph Amos
    January 22, 2021 | 3:46 pm

    I reach out to them and schedule the call. I start the conversation by letting them know that I want to always keep them informed with all information good/or bad and that I appreciate being their marketing partner. I let them know what’s happening and let them know what steps I am taking to get things back on track. They usually appreciate me being proactive.

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