Saying No To A Prospect
How many times in business have you wished you never took on a new client? They were a bad fit, they weren’t on the same page, they didn’t have the same code of ethics or perhaps they had unrealistic expectations. Everyone at some stage has experienced a situation where a client or potential client is not a good fit for their organisation.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with a very enthusiastic couple who own a small printing company on the outskirts of Melbourne. They, like many small businesses, want to grow their business.
They come armed with a new website, which in many ways is quite good, and in another, needs quite a bit of work.
What many small businesses don’t realise is that if you are ready to engage a marketing manager in your business, then its time to let them do what they do best. By all means, check out their references and make sure they have the skills to make a difference to your business, but ultimately, you are investing in their skill of marketing.
I can say with confidence, that I have spent the past 18 years in marketing and I am across every area of the marketing mix. Within minutes, I can tell a client information that will aid them in achieving their marketing goals.
The two people who headed this company that had called Marketing Eye after viewing our company website, were ambitious, proud and had taken a few steps in which to improve their business. They had hired a business coach, a web developer (or online guru as they repeated over and over again) and now were interviewing marketing companies.
In addition, according to the owner he had many years of experience in senior marketing roles with some large Australian companies and come armed with a marketing degree.
As they explained their business and their hairy audacious goals (think Verne Harnish)it became apparent that they were a long way off hiring a marketing company. They needed more than a business coach too.
In business, its important that when you are communicating what you do, you are considering the audience you are communicating to. That what information you are telling them, is in fact relevant.
In addition, if you are about to hire a marketing company, then don’t say you are a marketing guru – because that has trouble written all over it. Why, because micro management in marketing will kill even the best campaign and if you are hiring a agency, then don’t hire them if you don’t think they can do the job.
Also, be realistic. Hairy audacious goals are good and business coaches love it! But when they have no basis, and no leg work has been done – save it for a later date.
I too am an entrepreneur and I get very excited when I come up with a good idea, but I know that telling the world every time I have a good idea has bad written all over it.
Sure, when I was in my twenties I had not been banged over the head enough and freely told people my dreams for my career and business, but after a permanent ‘googie egg’ mounted on the top of my head, I finally realised for it to go down, I had to think before I spoke.
When you meet with a new client or a new service provider – think about how you want to position your company, what you want them to think about your brand and what you actually want them to gain from the meeting.
Time is valuable. Yours and theirs. Don’t waste it on information that is not directly integral to the outcome of the meeting.
Even if you think that your idea that you want to share is the only one of its type in the world – think it – don’t say it. The amount of entrepreneurs that are proven wrong every day with this comment is very high.
I meet with hundreds of business owners each year and so often they think that their business is the only one of its type or that they in fact do not have any competitors.
Whilst companies may not do it exactly how you do, the reality is that we all have competitors, and to compete we need to understand this reality.
Enthusiasm is good and contagious – but think about your audience and what you want them to take away from your meeting.
Yesterday, I sent an email to a prospect who I had met with hours earlier and said thank you but unfortunately our businesses are not able to work together.
It didn’t feel good. After all, it is the GFC and turning back business seems ludicrous, but sometimes it costs more to take on a new client that doesn’t fit.
Our brand is worth more than that and ultimately, every client we work with, we want to make a difference to their business. Our expertise in marketing is where we can add value to any organisation and if there are external factors that would influence this value-adding proposition – it is time to say no.