Do you know someone who believes they are right 100% of the time? These people are difficult to deal with, especially if they are your clients. They believe because they may have been successful in life, or achieved a certain financial or societal status, that they have the right to tell others what to do and how to do anything and everything. How do you deal with a know-it-all? According to Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies, the first step is to pick your battles wisely. If the advice, guidance, directive or request is not going to make a difference in the outcome of the project or compromise the integrity of your design, let it go. If the client wants you do something that will jeopardize quality, look and feel, Claman suggests that you respond to the suggestion with a have you ever question. For example, “Have you ever seen that appliance installed that way in a new kitchen or bath?” Asking what if questions has the same effect. For example, “What if we trial tested the idea to make sure it will achieve your desired result?”
Another option is to acknowledge the idea but take time to confirm the potential risks and rewards. If the client wants a particular product that you never heard of, you could say, “Let me research the company, read reviews and get references from other designers that have worked with the company to make sure that the quality and customer service are what you deserve.”
Also, don’t be afraid to point out the risks of doing what the client wants. For example, you might say, “That’s a really good idea, but I would like to confirm that the plan will meet building code requirements before we start demolition. Regardless of who the client is and their personality, your role is to make them feel great about their decision to partner with your showroom. To make those who are believe they are right 100% of the time feel great about doing business with you, always remember to acknowledge their role in the success of the project and give them credit for having great ideas and being a great partner.