You may feel like it gets you a shot to promise more than you might be able to deliver. You may feel like your office rent or home mortgage payment depends on you saying whatever needs to be said to get the job, the retainer or the contract. Its the big picture, the long-term vision, that should guide your day-to-day decisions when dealing with prospective clients and the current ones you want to keep.
As we all rely on word-of-mouth to keep our businesses going strong, here are some tips to keep you in the black and in your client's good graces. You never know when someone you want to work with has someone you've already worked with chirping in their ear. Those conversations can make or break you (trust me, they already have and they will continue to!).
- Set reasonable expectations and provide regular reports or check-ins to make sure you're on track. Make any mid-course corrections to keep everyone happy.
- Under-promise so you can over-deliver. No matter how quickly you can get that report done, give yourself an extra 24-to-48 hours so you look like a super star when you deliver it "early."
- If you can't do something, say so. Say what you can do, and then do that (plus 10% more).
- Take responsibility when it doesn't go as planned and do whatever has to be done to make it right with your client. Period. Your reputation depends on it.