Don’t Misrepresent Yourself To The Client
Actually, yes. Yes it is a big deal, because it’s their money and the decision of whom to work with rests solely in their hands. The client is trusting that the information you provide them is accurate. What you tell them has a direct impact on who they choose to partner with. Unfortunately, you have already disrespected them. When you demonstrate a lack respect for your clients, even if they remain unaware, you doom the relationship. This type of misrepresentation is not okay in any field. Would you accept this type of dishonesty from an architect? A general contractor? A doctor?
You need to win projects on your own merit, or not at all.
Misrepresentation is when you knowingly provide a client with information that is false, or neglect to mention details that would affect that client’s decisions. Misrepresentation comes in many flavors. Here are a few:
- Misrepresenting who you are
- This includes: How many team members you have; where you are located; what your experience or abilities are; who your clients are; and so on. Be candid and honest when representing yourself and your abilities.
- Secretly sub-contracting
- If a client pays you money to develop something, the expectation is that you will be the one programming it. If this is not the case, you better be up front with the client. Andy Rutledge wrote an excellent must-read article on this very topic. Inform the client if you intend to outsource any portion of the project.
- Misrepresenting your role on projects
- When you present samples of work, the assumption is that you were the sole creator of the design and that you were also the developer. If this is not the case, it’s your responsibility to inform the client. Always give proper attribution and credit on sample work.
Don’t try to be everything to every client. Before you pretend to be something that you’re not, consider showing the client the real you. Sure it takes courage to lay out all your cards and admit that there are limitations to what you can do, but every company has its limitations. It’s better to focus on the things that you can do best or that make your company unique. You might be amazed to see how far a little honesty and integrity can get you with clients. And if that isn’t enough motivation to stay honest, just take a moment to think about the backlash that could occur if a few white lies came back to haunt you.