When's the last time you sat across from a salesperson and they said, “Sorry, we probably won't be able to meet that price or/nor those expectations“. I never have, either.
Tonight I walked away from a contract I could have done with my eyes closed. However, I know that the simplicity of the contract would evolve and open a huge can of worms. I'd setup and install a blog for someone and then, by default, I'd become their blog support, their IT support and their hosting support. I'm not guessing – I'm speaking from experience. It's why I'd much rather refer prospects to a Software as a Service vendor like Compendium. (Disclosure: I'm a shareholder)
The clients I do help with blogging aren't a one-time contract, we have ongoing relationships to cover said issues. I'm happy to assist them with any of their needs since those resources are anticipated. That wasn't the case tonight… I simply walked from the request since it was just a project quote. There's no such thing as a web project that ends… unless the company goes under. From content, to design, to platform, to integration… every web project evolves as demands change over time. Blogging does, too. And a software as a service (SaaS) firm is designed to handle ongoing issues and support. I'm not.
Back to my point… perhaps if more companies turned down unreasonable budgets, crazy timelines, and ridiculous expectations the rest of the honest businesses could actually build trust with our prospects. The problem is so many folks out there, especially in the online marketing and social media domain, are afraid to walk away from a few bucks.
Many salespeople would rather pay their bills at the expense of the client than actually charge enough to deliver on their promises. It's unfortunate because the next poor sap to walk in the door is immediately attacked t like they're a 2-bit thief there to rape, pillage and empty the coffers.
If you can't complete a project in a timeframe, deliver on your promises or make a modest income doing the work, why would you take the sale? A few months ago, I had to part ways with a great friend and their firm because our projects weren't working out. I wasn't meeting their expectations… and I'd rather keep the friendship and lose the money than outright fail. And we would have failed spectacularly on the project I walked away from… I know it.
Could I use the money? Of course! Small projects like that are a great influx of cash to the business and could carry us through the lulls of large contracts coming and going. I just can't do it, though. In hindsight, I wish I would have walked away from a lot of small contracts since I started my business.
The irony is that these are the very same customers who approach me down the road on much larger projects that have solid deliverables, good compensation and flexible timelines. Each time that I say “No” now, I know that I'm building trust and the opportunity to get a better opportunity down the road. You should, too.