Get All Access for $5/mo

5 Things You Never Should Say to a Client Navigate the minefield of customer relationships carefully. Each buyer brings a different personality and expectations to manage.

By Robert Tuchman Edited by Dan Bova

The world of business can be tricky to navigate. Sure, you have a great product, but now you must procure and retain clients. And that can be like navigating a minefield. Each customer brings a different personality and expectations to manage.

Because so many companies are vying for business, the slightest misstep can sink an enterprise. Here some basics to keep in mind, including what to never say to clients, no matter how well you think you know them.

Related: 5 Tips for Building Strong Relationships With Clients

1. Can I give you a lift in my new Bentley? You want clients to think you're the best at what you do and successful. But you don't want them to think that they are overpaying to support your extravagances.

Some of this involves jealousy. If the client is not driving a fancy car, he or she doesn't want to know that you do. The customer might imagine that maybe the reason you can afford such expensive toys is that you overcharge for services.

2. Your current supplier or vendor is terrible. Never ever badmouth the competition no matter what you know or think about that firm because you won't come off well. It can look like sour grapes.

Related: Gaining Customers' Trust Can Be Your Checkmate

3. You don't want that. You want this other thing. Always give clients what they want. No matter what they say, people generally think what they want is right. Saying that they're wrong may only offend them -- and make them want to take their business to a salesperson who will give them what they seek. You can always propose an additional option to consider, but present it with a light touch. Ultimately, it's the clients' choice and you can live with the outcome if they can.

4. Did I ever tell you about my crazy, drunken weekend in Las Vegas? There's bonding and then there's sharing too much information (or TMI). Sure, the client will laugh heartily at how you became so drunk that you forgot which hotel room to return to.

But then the customer will question your discretion and professionalism. Even when you have quasi-social relationship with a customer, don't make the conversation too personal too soon. It's fine to ask about a client's family or a vacation, but don't delve too deeply. And don't discuss sex, politics or religion right off the bat.

5. I heard your co-worker is seeking a divorce. Don't gossip. Period. This shows a lack of discretion and if you talk freely about another person, a client might assume that you also talk about him or her. (Think about it: What's your reaction when you hear someone whom you don't know very well make a negative remark about another person?) If you must discuss people you both know, find something positive to say. You will come across as upbeat, friendly and professional -- someone a customer wants to be around.

The bottom line is really pretty simple: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or more simply: Keep your mouth shut and a smile on your face.

Related: Why Businesses Can't Afford to Upset Customers (Infographic)

Robert Tuchman

Entrepreneur Staff

Host of How Success Happens

Robert Tuchman is the host of Entrepreneur's How Success Happens podcast and founder of Amaze Media Labs the largest business creating podcasts for companies and brands. He built and sold two Inc. 500 companies: TSE Sports and Entertainment and Goviva acquired by Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.