In previous columns we’ve looked at a number of expressions you should never use with clients. Here are 11 more to scratch off your list.
Read: Expressions to avoid
#1. “Easy Come, Easy Go”
Also avoid, “It’s only money,” and “Win some, lose some.”
Why: You appear as though you aren’t taking their concerns seriously.
Instead: “I realize the market is volatile, but it’s important to keep things in perspective…”
#2. “I shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”
Sometimes we pass along rumors. It often backfires.
Why: Inside information, hot tips and speculation tend to blur the lines. If something went wrong your client will point the finger at you.
Instead: “Here’s what our research says. There’s been a lot of chatter about this firm on the following websites and talk shows. If you want to hear what these other people are saying, check out their websites.”
#3. “You’re not recording this, are you?”
Now it really sounds like you have something to hide.
Why: Everything you do should be able to withstand scrutiny.
Instead: “Here’s what I know so far…” and “I have this available in print if you want more details…”
#4. “Here’s what I think”
Implies you know better than the analysts. Many clients value a major firm’s research capabilities.
Why: Corporate executives respect chains of command and loyalty.
Instead: “I know you’re concerned. You asked a pointed question yesterday. Our analyst has a conference call today and I’ll ask that question on your behalf….”
#5. “I’ll send you something”
You make a recommendation and plan to send the marketing package.
Why: It sounds like an afterthought.
Instead: If the client is sitting with you, hand it over immediately.
#6. “I’ll let voicemail get it”
The phone rings while you’re with a client. It’s an important meeting. You ignore the ringing phone and focus on the client.
Why: The client saw you glanced at the caller ID first. She wonders if you do that with her calls.
Instead: “Excuse me. We have two levels of backup but sometimes calls bounce back if everyone is tied up. I’ll let them know I’m in a meeting and will return their call shortly.”
#7. “I promise”
A version of “guarantee.” You’re committing yourself to an action and follow-up actions if complications develop.
Why: You set expectations, but you cannot control everyone’s actions. It’s your name on the line.
Read: 10 expressions to avoid
Instead: “Let’s go over our to-do lists. It’s my job to take care of the following…. It’s your job to do these tasks….Let’s reconnect on Friday.”
#8. “You’re Outta Here”
We think we can fire clients, especially when tempers flare. It’s not that easy.
Why: Frustrated homeowners fire contractors. They get sued. We take on a level of responsibility when we enter a client relationship. We don’t expect our best clients to leave. Why can we choose when to walk away?
Instead: “We are all in this together….”
#9. “The market took us all by surprise”
Our rationalization for sudden swings. Considering each trade has a buyer and a seller, it didn’t take everyone by surprise.
Why: It sounds like, “I’m no smarter than you are.” If that’s true, why are they paying for your advice?
Instead: “The market is a leading indicator for the economy. World events cause problems because the market doesn’t like surprises. We still own good companies….”
#10. “It’s a sure thing”
Also avoid, “You can’t lose.”
Why: You cannot account for all contingencies. If the client owns a CD, what happens if he sells before maturity?
Instead: “Here’s how this investment works. It’s based on the following assumptions….”
#11. “The long term is what we talk about when the short term isn’t working”
It sounds like a comedian should be saying this. But your client isn’t laughing.
Why: It’s as if you’re treating investing like a game.
Instead: “The market goes up like an escalator but down like an elevator. We own well-run companies….”