In sales, the name of the game is volume. When you're starting out, it's difficult to say no to anyone; however, experience teaches us the opportunity cost of working with folks that suck our time, energy and resources away from productive activity. Here are five types of customers to decline.
It is a mistake to…
- try to help someone who thinks they are doing you a favor by hiring you. They will take you for granted, lack appreciation for your knowledge, and treat your relationship as disposable. The worst part is that they will mess around and make you a spectator to poor results, by either being slow to implement or failing to follow your professional advice altogether -- up until the point they replace you, attributing credit for your original ideas to either themselves or your replacement. Also, know you cannot "win" with this type of consumer by serving them on a referral basis either. When a customer has you painted in the favor category, everything you offer them will be devalued, minimized, and ultimately fruitless.
work with someone who doesn't respect you, whether by statement against your profession in general or by something against you personally (i.e., your political beliefs, your educational background, your ethnicity, your level of experience, your gender, your faith, your family status, etc…). Don't betray yourself for money. You're worth more than that.
represent someone who thinks the rules don't apply to them. Folks who have built a life by getting over on others don't care about the damage they cause along the way. They only care about themselves and getting what they want. You can't be willing to compromise your business reputation by letting your good name shield someone else's shady character, laziness, and poor decisions.
maintain a business relationship with someone who constantly thinks the worst of you. When what seems like simple miscommunication at first turns into repeated misunderstandings about intent or message, recognize that there is a larger battle being waged in the background. The misalignment isn't easily adjusted through clarification or relationship building because the disconnect is rooted in ego & emotional dysfunction, which is something you are not going to be able to fix. Part company before the relationship completely degrades.
- engage someone who constantly asks for advice or a second opinion, but won't give you their business. Their loyalties reside elsewhere, and their "use" of your services is limited to your willingness to dish for free. This is an abuse of your time, talents and resources. Redirect them instead to the professional(s) they patronize, or let your free advice be to consider making a change if they lack confidence in their relationship of choice.
Remember, time is your most precious resource. Spend it wisely.