Have You Ever Turned Down a Client?

by "Get it Done Girl" on July 20, 2010 · 3 comments

in Free Agency

Working as a Free Agent since November 19, 2010 (a day I will never forget), I have projects that cross my path that I know are a perfect fit:

  • My skills match the needs of the client
  • We have a good rapport
  • They “get it”

Then there are those projects that I’m approached with that make me hesitate:

  • My skills don’t quite match their needs (this is when I reach out to my network of Free Agents for collaboration)
  • The Client and I do not have a good rapport (this is going to be challenging – I usually weigh the cost vs. benefit)
  • They don’t “get it” (I oftentimes turn down these projects)

Then there are those times where I’m asked to provide what I know is a short-term solution to a long-term need. This is where my ethics kick in and where I usually turn down a project. I’m speaking primarily about social media at this juncture. If I provide social media services for a client for a month (coaching or community management), or if they want 2 hours of Facebook coaching – where will this leave them in the long-run? If they’re not satisfied with their business growth after our interaction, this could potentially hurt my business in the long-run. Word of Mouth is pretty powerful.

What are your thoughts? Do you take on all projects you are presented with? Do you pitch to clients who you know won’t be a good fit because you’re in a slump? Have you ever turned down business?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Davis August 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

Being a fairly new business owner, I have been going through a very similar thought process. At first I thought I needed to accept any and all clients that knocked on my door. Now though I am realizing, that will not create the best environment for my business to thrive in.

Just last week I turned down a potential client, for the first time. It was not an easy thing to do, but I know it was the best thing to do. I referred that potential client to a collegue that I know would be a better fit.

The potential client thanked me for being honest and upfront with her. She also asked more detail about my business so if she knew of a potential client that would be a good fit for me she could refer them on! I believe that is a win-win situation!

"Get it Done Girl" August 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Hey, Elizabeth…way to go – I’m sure that won’t be the first time you refer potential clients on to someone who can better fit their needs – kudos to you for being able to identify that!

Khaled Mabrouk September 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Good Afternoon Suzanne. It was a pleasure meeting you today at the GSA Networking event. Regarding your question, it reminds me of one of my mentors from my software sales days; a gentleman named Bill Liggett who worked for Sun Microsystems in Canada in the 1990s. He was a professional salesman who was proud of it. His best advice to me was:
“to always be a source of direction for your clients. By that he was saying, you should know enough about your capabilities, and what other people’s capabilities are, then learn (by listening) what the client wants/needs. If what the client needs you can provide, then tell them how you can do that. It not, then you need to know who/where to refer them to take care of their need. That way, they will always come to you first with their problems”.
I have kept this advice close to heart ever since.

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