Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and they are just rubbing you the wrong way? Or they were so abrasive that you couldn’t wait to get out of the room? Or they didn’t seem to understand anything you were saying, or they would not stop talking and they kept going off on tangents that made no sense, or they kept telling you how great they were? And you were supposed to be “selling” this person on your services or product. You were supposed to be persuading them to work with you. You were supposed to be encouraging them that you could solve all their accounting, legal, marketing, technical, insurance, whatever problems. But what you really wanted to do was just get the heck out of there.
This was a case of “Not all business is good business”. When I encounter a situation like this, what I typically do is write a letter (email) and send it to the person stating something to the effect: “Upon reflection of our meeting, I feel that it is important that we have a good personal connection if we are to successfully work together, and I, sadly, did not feel we were a good fit. I am more than happy to refer you to other professionals that you may have that necessary connection with if you would like. Just let me know” Or something like that depending on the circumstances.
I once had a meeting with potential clients who were full of ideas, and I actually found the two men quite likable. What I didn’t find likable was their business, which was in my view unethical and borderline illegal and not something I wanted anything to do with. I wrote them my email apologizing, explaining that we were not a good fit for each other, but I would be happy to refer them to someone else. They were furious, but wanted a referral. I referred them to someone I had met at networking lunch the week before. I never heard from any of them again.
The point is in our desire to secure business it is important to discern what is good business and what is not good business. Someone who is going to be a time waster, someone who thinks they know better than you, someone who doesn’t understand anything you are saying to them, these are all examples of potential clients that are going to end up being a big headache for you, and not worth the money you earn from them, and believe me, you will earn every cent.
But don’t be too quick to dismiss someone. and don’t make the letter an absolute no. I had a meeting with a potential client. I found him a know it all and annoying. He asked me to give him my 3 best ideas, he said he had asked two other companies to do the same. I went back to the office and wrote a letter saying due to a family emergency I won’t be taking on any new clients at this time, good luck with the other two companies. One year later I received a phone call from this person asking how my family was, he said he had a budget of $XX,XXX that he had saved over the past year, that I was the one he had wanted to work with and inquired whether or not I was accepting new clients at this time. That was 8 years ago. He has since become one of my favorite and steadiest clients. Good thing I left the door open, because he turned out to be very good business indeed.
3 thoughts on “Not All Business Is Good Business”
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