For our sins (and they must be significant) we are renovating our kitchen in the run-up to Christmas, in the heat of a South African summer, while my wife is pregnant. 

Nevertheless, the experience has been reasonably positive, and it's down to one thing: we hired the right person to oversee the project. In particular, we found someone who knew precisely what tends to go wrong with these sorts of things and has been able to guide us around the quicksand. From the planning stage, and at every point thereafter, he has helped us to coordinate the various service providers, foreseen potential problems, and warded off the kind of silly mistakes that can cost weeks and extra money. 

When I am booked to work with an organisation, I try to do the same. I point out to my client all the inherent danger-zones in advance. There is great value in doing so. Not only do you optimise your client's chances of achieving their goals, but the very fact that you are aware of what can go wrong - and care enough to share the information - displays professionalism and experience. 

You can even formalise this technique. In your own line of work, could you draw up a 'cautionary' list to give to potential clients, free of charge? Whether they hire you or not? Consider, if you were weighing up three potential service providers, and one of them gave you a list of potential issues you will have to navigate, based upon their extensive experience, wouldn't you be more inclined to use their services? 

Guide your clients around the quicksand and you will land more deals. Share your knowledge and compassion and you could be seen as the greatest in your game. 


Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and business author. He specialises in expert-positioning and disruptive innovation, and he is the author of titles like 'Own Your Industry,' and 'They're Your Rules, Break Them!' See him in action, or sign up for his free motivational newsletter, at