The client needs to be brave.
They have to take a chance. They have to risk it. The have to be daring. They have to be prepared to go out on a limb.
Christ. I don’t know why we keep obsessing with clients having to be brave. Ok, I admit I used to say it and think it myself a long time ago but since then I’ve grown older. Or wiser.
Demanding, arguing or even expecting that a client should be brave is more often than not just a bad excuse either for a bad idea to begin with or for bad salesmanship. And when I say salesmanship I mean it in the most revering sense of the word, i.e. the ability to explain to a client why the proposed solution will add value to his or her business.
But most of all it’s a complete lack of empathy. Which is sort of disturbing in a tragi-comical way since empathy is supposed to be our forte; one of the things our clients pay us for is that we claim to understand better than they do what the target group thinks, feels and does and, hence, how the communication should be planned and executed.
Well, when we’re selling ideas the client is the target. And we behave like spoilt children.
Because, as we all know when we spend more than five seconds thinking about it, there are some pretty compelling reasons most clients are not, will not and perhaps should not be brave:
- They aren’t paid to be brave. They’re paid to deliver results.
- Most organizations don’t reward being brave or, in a more appropriate way of putting it, risk-taking.
- Being brave is not in human nature. Avoiding risk is.
So before reverting to the “argument” that a client should buy our whacky, revolutionary, bad-ass idea out of sheer bravery, maybe we should take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves why we don’t make a habit out of proposing ideas we’ve never thought of before. Or why we don’t quit our day job and write that novel we’re dreaming of. Or open that Cat-Stuff-O-Rama store. Or get a Mohawk. Why we aren’t more “brave” ourselves.
We need to start seeing the bigger picture and imagine what it would be like to be in our client’s shoes. And if it were our money. And our careers on the line.
Because, at the end of the day, most people are only human.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written by someone in a dark state of mind. Sorry.