Giving clients what they NEED versus what they WANT. 

Whether they’re consumers, businesses or our own teams, what people want is often what they think they need—to solve a problem, jump on an opportunity, do more and better. 

Sometimes they’re bang-on, of course. And it’s just a case of working together to make it happen.

Other times, not so much. In fact, what they’re asking for could have all kinds of wonky implications they’re not aware of. (But you might be.)

It can be a delicate dance. We’re told the customer’s ‘always right’ and even if they’re not, no one likes to be made to feel wrong or out-of-touch (or be the person responsible for this). 

We don’t want to sacrifice results for the relationship or vice versa.

Here’s how I come at this:

Help people see what they can’t see themselves. (Or don’t want to. This is a big one!) Help make their decision an informed one.

Play devil’s advocate. Gently. Play out different scenarios with them. Ask ‘what if….’ and ‘have you considered…?’ And when it comes to the specifics, they’ll probably know more, while you could have a bigger picture view. Put the two together.

Bring possibilities and potential pitfalls to their attention. Then let it go. You may end up working together or not, but if the final decision is theirs, let it be theirs.