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We all make mistakes with clients sooner or later. I’ve found this sequence to help:

• Immediately apologize and show true remorse. If it wasn’t you, but an employee or subcontractor, it doesn’t matter, the buck stops with you. After acknowledgment and remorse comes atonement, below.

• Ask what you can do to make things better. Don’t offer solutions before you’ve asked your buyer for solutions.

• If appropriate, suspend the immediate project and give the buyer time to reflect.

• If appropriate, waive your fee (or return the fee) for that project. (A “credit” isn’t nearly as fair or effective.)

• Ask the buyer what happened when he or she made a mistake with one of their customers or clients. How did they handle it?

• Learn from the error: find the cause and prevent it in the future.

Throughout, practice empathy..Don’t use your perspective, put yourself in the buyer’s position,

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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