“I trust myself to make good decisions. Now, I’ll hold my breath until you prove me right.”
Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time providing services to a client, they’re thinking about the risk they’re taking with you. Sure, you may know you consistently deliver quality work on time and in budget, but you’re still a risk to your client. Hard as it might be, you ought not to take it personally. Your contact may suffer from the syndrome “Once burned, twice shy.”
Let’s say your contact, Jim, was held responsible for selecting an outside vendor for, say, printing needs. This vendor came through with flying colors on the 6-panel full-color brochures. Then they followed up with a splendid job printing event booklets. Naturally, Jim called them right away when he was assigned the task of choosing a printer for the annual conference direct mail pieces. Oops. Project returned late, requested last-minute changes not incorporated correctly, and some of the photos look blurry.
Jim’s manager is not pleased with him (even though it was clearly not Jim’s fault – he depended on what he had come to consider a dependable vendor!). Can you blame Jim for being somewhat skittish now every time he contacts his “trusted” vendors? He’s still nervous about his boss yelling at him for that printing fiasco!
So, rather than feel offended or put off when your contact double- and triple-checks that you’re still adhering to the schedule they want you to follow, try to see it from their side.
Respond promptly and politely to their repeated check-ins with you. Remember that they worry daily, to some degree, about their keeping their job and reputation intact. Keep their viewpoint in mind and you’ll end up feeling better about the situation. Your contact will appreciate your cheerful cooperation!