It may be tough to figure out how to manage client expectations, but do that before you let your clients down!


It may have started out simply. You may have started communicating more often via the telephone, and what was previously monthly calls went from weekly calls, and now all of a sudden you’re on the phone with your client every day. Sometimes you talk even more than once a day. What happened? Your client’s explicit or implicit expectations changed, and you need to realign your working relationship.

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Follow these tips to learn how to manage client expectations:


Understand your client’s expectations and be sure you can live up to them.


Before signing on the dotted line, understand your client’s explicit expectations. Because a client may not always know what to expect, discuss this before beginning a project or making a sale. If you’ve worked in a similar situation, advise them of what you think they should expect. If you’re both green to this setup, ask questions about the project of each other.


Here are some things you should consider: How much time do you require of each other? Along the same lines, how can you be reached, and how often should each party have access to getting in touch with the other party? Setting boundaries before a project begins will create a more harmonious work environment.


If you don’t think you can meet the expectations your client sets early on, discuss this with them before beginning a project. Let’s say you’re working on a monthly project and your client requests weekly in-person meetings. If an in-person meeting isn’t a valuable use of your or your client’s time, suggest something different. Maybe a weekly email summary will suffice. If your client prefers a more hands-on approach, suggest brief phone or video conferences. Assure your clients that you will be able to be reached if need arises, but schedule out the appointments in advance so that your clients understand your expectations as well.


Be honest and never promise anything you can’t deliver.


Here is one way to let down your client: promise something and fail to deliver.


Even if you have the best intentions, be realistic with your abilities. This includes any outside assistance that goes along with your tasks at hand.


Are you using a copy or mail service? Are they able to get the project done in the timeline promised? If you’re feeling pressured by a client, it’s easy to understand why you’ll try to do anything to ease the situation. Being honest is the best way to keep your client satisfied, even if you don’t have the best news to deliver.


Did you forget to send out a time sensitive mail campaign by the due date originally agreed upon? Don’t try to cover your tracks. Get in touch with your client right away and admit to your mistake. Before making the call, come up with options your client can choose from to rectify the situation. How about sending an email blast instead of writing a press release for the local newspaper and radio stations? If you admit defeat, yet prove you are still capable in your job, your client will respect your honesty and preparation.


When client expectations turn into cases of client’s “owning” their consultant, it’s often because they lost trust in the consultant’s capabilities. It’s possible your client may feel as if they need to micromanage the job to get it completed successfully.


Learn how to be tactful and direct with your boundaries.


Sometimes, even if you follow all of the above suggestions, you’ll end up with a client who doesn’t respect the original expectations outlined. They may call you at all hours of the day and night. They may suggest excessive edits to a project done well and within the designed scope. They may even speak down to you as if you are their minion. Often times, theses implicit client expectations reflect on their own personal or business management styles, not on your performance. At this point, even though it may feel awkward at first, you must remind them of the original expectations and boundaries set. Regardless of their attitude, you are capable to do this in a tactful, respectful manner. Reset any guidelines and continue with the project.


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lead-managerLet our automated software simplify your sales process.  Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial of our lead management software and turn more leads into customers with less work!

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How have client expectations altered how you’ve done your job? Have you ever had to remind client’s of boundaries before? Let us know in the comments!