by Charlotte L. Hanna CCO CMBS Global
We’ve all been there. We want something so badly, we can almost taste it, but something deep down inside is screaming at us to ignore our desire and just move on.
Most of us know when we have that “gut feeling.” That overwhelming sense that something is wrong. Whether it is wrong for us, wrong for someone we care about, wrong because it is unethical or illegal – or just because it is not the smartest move and therefore not in our best interest at the current moment.
Maybe nothing horrible will result in ignoring the “gut feeling” – maybe it will – but when you just can’t feel good and at peace about a choice or a decision, why not listen to your gut, trust your instinct, and move on? For an entrepreneur, a little “gut feeling” can go a long way toward saving you a ton of trouble – even a ton of money – down the road.
As an experienced professional, you know that your services may not be for everyone. You also know that some potential clients’ budgets will simply not permit them to afford your services. It might be easy to lower your rates and provide a way to meet their immediate needs, but will it be worth it in the long run? Or are you opening the door to struggles and issues that will only grow with time?
It’s never a good idea to ignore a request for your services, or walk away from a potential sales lead without explanation. That just isn’t professional and it isn’t good business. Still, you must be able to measure the long-term effects on you and your company should a client not be able to realistically afford you. The demands of a low paying client can often get out of hand, causing you to spend much too much time to earn far too little, building resentment instead of relationship.
Once you lowball a client, chances are it will be very difficult to charge them your going rates later on. They will not understand a substantial increase in costs for services of the same quality. They will expect more for more money.
Don’t forget, the reason a potential client seeks you out in the first place is because you are offering what they need. Practically giving away your services will not cause them to respect you – it will only cause you to feel used, and quite possibly project an unfavorable image of your business to the public. You can’t afford to be viewed as sub-par when it comes to your services, and lower prices can often translate into lower level provider, even if that is far from true.
Don’t ignore your “gut feelings”. If you sense that a client is not a good fit for you for any reason…politely, and professionally, thank them for their interest and provide an adequate reason for not being able to work with them at this time. It is your business and you must be able to both work with a client – and afford to stay in business.
Don’t be afraid to quote your standard rates, however, if you decide that you would really like to work with a client whom you know probably can’t afford you, just be fair and balanced, and price the quote according to what you are worth and what you can live with. You will have fewer regrets because you will have set the price on your terms. Even if you don’t get the signed contract with them now, you may get them back in the future – when you both can better afford to work together.
The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed. – Henry Ford
If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours. – Ray Kroc