Having worked within professional services for the last six months, I am aware that most members of the accountancy and law profession do not like having difficult conversations and will actively avoid these conversations. (Although I have met some very good lawyers and accountants at having difficult conversations, but these are few and far between) There is one exception – they are both very good at having difficult conversations with clients if they can blame a regulation or point of law for the client’s difficulty.

Ever since I started my own business, I have been continually amazed by the lack of small business owners who are prepared to have a difficult conversation.

For example, how many potential clients ring you back to say…

“no, I’ve decided to give the work to someone else”

OR,

“you know I said that I was interested in working with you (and sent you a message to that effect), well I’m not returning your calls now because I’ve decided not to work with you”

It very rarely happens – and I have found it is a huge time waster, for me personally and my business.

How many times have you been alerted to a client not happy with your service, only when they tell you they are taking their business elsewhere?

How many times have you been stood up for a meeting – and the person you are meant to be meeting has not even had the courtesy to phone and let you know?

Although I used to squirm during the ritualised feedback sessions that the corporate world loves – I now miss the regular feedback I used to get. As a small business owner, I have found that very few people are prepared to give you constructive feedback to your face. More often than not, they will be positive and enthusiastic about your business or project, and then simply not do what they said they were going to do… or worse still, not engage your services.

I’ve nearly got this rant off my chest – but, the funny thing is, the people that ARE prepared to give me bad feedback to my face, or have a difficult conversation with, I have more respect rather than less for them. In reality this means I am more prepared to recommend their services to others, connect them up with people in my network AND buy from them.

Over the next week, I will be continuing the theme of courageous conversations!

How do you personally feel when someone is prepared to have a difficult conversation with you?

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