Bar Tools

Tips 'n Tricks

Convincing Your Client to Accept The Big Idea

By Richard B. Barger, ABC, APR

Originally Posted

You know your client pretty well; you know exactly what it will take to solve his problem, what's required for him to achieve his goals. You're confident you're right. Hell, you know you're right.

And you know that, once he hears The Big Idea, he'll balk. It's too big, too outrageous, too unusual, not what he's always done, scary, unworkable, unacceptable.

The solution? A BIGGER idea. Something more outrageous, more unusual. Something feasible -– something that probably would work, but that is so far over the top for this particular client that you know it would never be accepted.

Argue for this bigger idea. Push for it. Sense the situation and, maybe, fight for it. "Read" the client. Then, at the right time, give in. With resignation, drop back from the idea you never particularly wanted in the first place to the one you know will work.

It'll sound so much better in comparison, so much more reasonable. All the client's energy will have been expended fighting the phantom. If you've handled it carefully, he's much more likely to accept the good idea -– the one that would have been too much to stomach if it had been hanging out there by itself.

Ethics alert: Is this devious? In my opinion, handled properly, it's just a strategy –- a communications strategy -– to convince a target audience to make the best possible decision. If, in a given situation, it doesn't pass your "smell test," don't do it.

However, as long as your experience tells you that your proposed solution is the best and you're certain that your client won't adopt it outright, even with all the logic and facts and authority you can muster, you will have served your client by leading him to a decision that's in his interest.

The only caveat: You damn well better be right!

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