Imagine yourself in a routine business exercise:
- A potential client is REFERRED BY A GREAT RESOURCE.
- The potential CLIENT EXPRESSES CONCERNS about their own business.
- You have several meetings, the problems become clear: the ISSUES MUST BE ADDRESSED.
- You can provide a VALUABLE SERVICE to the potential client.
- YOU ARE ASKED FOR HELP.
- YOU SPEND AN EXTENSIVE AMOUNT OF TIME developing a proposal, with clear deliverables.
- You DELIVER THE PROPOSAL, on time, as agreed. It is VERY FAIR.
- The potential client goes silent, and DOES NOTHING.
What went wrong? Why won’t they respond? Was it something you said? Did you not understand what was being asked? Didn’t the client indicate that they had great interest, and needed your help?
Chances are, the issues are much greater than you realize, and the reasons the potential client did not respond are likely not your problem, but are theirs. Not responding is often seen as an insult, however, it’s something you cannot control. If you did your work, and the client was there to get the message, then the next step is up to them. In the end, the client is going to do what THEY believe to be the best thing for their company, even if that means they do nothing at all. Or worse yet, they do something odd and avoidable: THEY FAIL!
This situation really just happened to me. The issues at hand are compelling, deep, and if the information provided by the company owner was legitimate, the financial, legal, and credibility damage that could follow will be horrendous. I am up to the challenge, and provided a fair and responsible proposal. But the potential client knows best (or so it seems).
I have done my work: the next step (to fix the problem, as opposed to avoiding it), is up to them.
All businesses have issues. Some are small. Some are perpetual and ongoing. Some are deep and need assistance from an experienced set of eyes. All need attention. We can act like they don’t exist, or avoid them, or you can push them off to someone else. Sometimes, they can be horrendous and can threaten operations to the core. But make no mistake: the issues and problems don’t just go away. They need to be addressed, and fixed.
So, what is the takeaway? Try this:
- Be positive. Hard work does pay off. You won’t win every job, but continued good work will ultimately mean new opportunities.
- Be persistent. Don’t be annoying, and bothersome, but certainly let your audience, clients, or potential clients know you are good at what you do, and that you have good solutions.
- Learn from each lesson. Reassess the situation, and determine if there are things you can do better. Adapt to a more effective delivery as necessary. Avoid being a commodity to a would be client.
- Strive Forward with Confidence. Don’t take a setback personally. Worry about what you can control. In the case above, the problems that don’t go away should bother them more than you.
One more important thing: Thank your Referral Source. People who think of your business and provide you avenues for new business are often hard to find. Let them know you appreciate their assistance.
Now, go get that next piece of business!
David Alexander is President of Mile Marker Business and Consulting Services, LLC, a business consulting service whose mission is to help companies and their owners solve the REAL issues and problems, moving aside the things that get in the way of progress. Whether a company is in difficult times or in growth mode, or in times of financing, operational or organizational needs/assistance, the MILE MARKER is a great place to stop, and prepare for the next steps to success. Let’s start a conversation!