The Truth About Telling the Truth

The client had a major problem. They weren’t achieving the outcomes they needed, and they were entering a critical stage, one in which it was imperative that they obtain the outcomes their clients needed.

The first reason this company was not obtaining the results they needed was driven by the fact they selected a partner who wasn’t strategic enough. This supplier lacked the core competencies and capabilities to help them. This was a good company, they simply had the wrong business model for this particular client.

The second reason they were failing was that they weren’t spending enough money.

A Case of Underinvesting

During our first meeting, I explained to the CEO and his Chief Operating Officer that they were underinvesting in the outcome they needed. I explained to them that in order to reach their goals, they would have to spend an additional million dollars over 12 months. That was the required investment based on their current situation.

After meeting with me, this company decided to meet with a competitor. That competitor provided conflicting information. Where I had recommended they spend $1 million, my competitor recommended they spend $500,000, not an insignificant amount of money. Naturally, they wanted to believe a $500,000 investment would achieve the results they needed. They accepted my competitor’s recommendation, and they rejected mine.

One week later, I received an email from someone on the operations team literally begging for help with this set of data points that indicated that the $500,000 investment was not working.

The Truth

You do not serve your clients by allowing them to underinvest in the results they need. You do not serve your clients by telling them what they want to hear, especially when it comes to what is necessary to produce results, whether those things are money, time, energy, or real changes. You don’t serve your clients by avoiding uncomfortable conversations.

If you really want to help people, tell them the truth, not what you believe they want to hear so that you can win an opportunity only to fail the client. The truth about telling the truth is that it won’t always win your business in the short run. But it will help you with the long game.

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