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Owning the Outcome Means No Hiding

Your brand new client is upset. Your team is having trouble executing. They aren’t getting the results that they need, and your team is having trouble getting things right. Your client calls you to discuss the issue, but you are on sales calls and available.

You call your team, you pass on the message, and someone from your team calls to resolve the issues. That’s all well and good, but it isn’t enough. You own the outcome.

Problems Are Inevitable

It’s inevitable that you are going to have challenges serving your clients. You are responsible for resolving those issues. You own what you sold your client. You owe them outcome, so you own the problems.

You Own the Outcomes

You own the outcomes, not the transactions. This means that you are responsible for ensuring that your team executes and that your client’s get the outcomes that you sold them, even if you aren’t the person that can make the changes that gets them the results. Your team owns the transactions.

You Orchestrate

Your job in sales requires that you make sure that you apply the resources needed to help your client achieve the objectives you sold.

You are responsible for orchestrating their efforts. It is right that you would call your team and pass on the message. It is right that you would have your team begin to take action on behalf of your client.

All of this is good, but it isn’t enough.

No Hiding

When your client is struggling, you don’t hide. You call them back, and you handle their problem.

You might be tempted to wait to call your client, hoping that your team calls your client and deals with their issues before you call them. You might hope that you don’t have to take the brunt of the blow when your angry or upset client unloads.

But this exactly what you must do. You cannot hide. Hiding means you are avoiding dealing with your client’s issues. It means you can’t be trusted. It means your client is alone in the foxhole.

When you can, you call your client first. You get in front of the issue. You listen to them explain their situation and what they need from you. And, then you delegate the transactions to your team, keeping your client informed as to the actions being taken the whole time.

Less than this is hiding, and it can cost you your professionalism, as well as your client’s trust.


How do you respond to client issues over which you don’t have direct responsibility?

Should you be the one to take their calls, even when you aren’t the one that can really help them with the transaction part of solving that problem?

Does it destroy trust to pass those calls on without listening and addressing them at some level?

How do you handle client issues and orchestrate resolving them?

What does your client want from you? What do they expect from you? What do risk by avoiding their calls and hiding?

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  • Michele Price

    These are great questions, now what I would like to discuss ( can you say another blog post) is how do you handle it when they are not doing “their part”.  You know the part that is not your piece of the deal.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Try this one, Michele: How to Talk with Your Team About Execution

  • Stan Faryna

    Well said.

    Service is all about serving your client. Great service merits trust, confidence, and loyalty.

    Selling it on the street is something else. Something that I don’t love. It’s one of those problems that seem inherent to free and black markets. And it is a tragedy that selling it on the street has become more meaningful to both the seller and buyer than commitment, honor, and outcomes.

  • Bruce Sallan

    Once again, Anthony, I see how your posts, your ideas apply to all of life. Sort of cool!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Damn it, Bruce! You’re on to me!