The Client-centred Blog

Why does attachment ruin client engagement?

Successful client engagement has many aspects and this article explores one of the most crucial.

Do you ever find yourself being attached to an outcome?

For instance, you are in conversation with a potential client, and you have something on it going your way. You feel an inner tension, anxiousness, or concern about winning the business.  

In the past I experienced this many times and I imagine that every professional person has too.

Yet attachment and all the feelings, emotions, and behaviour that comes with it only serves to contaminate a relationship. It pushes people away and so, ultimately, impacts your bottom line.

So, being able to detach from the outcome is an essential factor on the path to mastering client engagement.

Why do we feel attachment to an outcome?

Fear and all its many shades are a natural and normal part of the human experience. 

We feel fear when we feel threatened and what the fear response does is prepare us to fight, flight, or freeze. 

Yet the truth is that we rarely experience a genuine threat. You are very unlikely to be predated upon, starve, or experience a real threat to your well-being.

Our fears are created in our mind. What the personal mind does is create scenarios we do not like the look of. This could be running out of money, not being able to pay the bills, or suffering in some way.

The result is that we can attach our sense of well-being to an outcome and conclude, “I will be ok if I win this business and not ok if I don’t.”

You cannot control outcomes

The problem with control as an approach to life is that it does not work very well. Life has just too many variables and unknowns to make controlling it viable. 

This is particularly true when it comes to engaging clients because you cannot hide where you are coming from.

If you try to excerpt control over someone else, then the only thing you can expect is push-back and resistance.

If you show your disappointment to someone, they will see that you feel dependent upon them. 

This is why attachment contaminates client engagement. Daniel Goleman, author of ‘Emotional Intelligence‘ insightfully pointed out that:

“Our worries become self-fulfilling prophecies, propelling us toward the very disaster they predict.”

How can you detach from an outcome?

In the book, ‘Start with no‘ by Jim Camp. He says:

“As a negotiator aspiring to excellence, you must, at all costs, avoid showing need. In order to avoid showing need, you must never feel it. You do not need this deal.”

I have a slightly different take on this, although I totally agree with the not needing the deal part.

My experience is that no matter how experienced or philosophical you are, you can still sometimes feel attached to an outcome.   

Yet what really matters is whether you see it as thought and not reality.

When you know it is your thinking then those feelings of attachment can flow through you unimpeded and they have no power over you.

No agenda client engagement

I remember one of my coaches saying, “It may be true that you need money. But you do not need THAT person’s money.”

This really helped me. 

What also helped was also clearly seeing that I could not truly be of service to someone if my own perceived needs were on my mind.

When we let go of all thoughts about ourselves, we will naturally find the depth, quality, and impact of our client engagement going up.

This better serves your client, you, and your bottom line.     

PS. If you found this helpful you might want to check out this article too. Click here.    


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