Article by Wendy McCance
I used to be a real estate agent. When I first started out in the field, I went through a training program. One of the pieces of information that was continuously banged into our heads was that you are to be persistent. I’m not talking about staying on top of daily goals, I am referring directly to how you deal with prospects. If someone showed even the slightest bit of interest in buying or selling a home, you were to stay on top of that lead until it turned into a client of yours.
That attitude was incredibly aggressive and didn’t work well with the way I handle acquiring new business. I felt there was a fatal flaw in the system being pushed on new realtors. Personality of the realtor or the prospect was never taken into consideration.
I have always been one of those people who works from the gut. I go after new business in a way that feels most comfortable to me. I found out a long time ago that if you fake it in sales, you will never make it. sincerity, honesty, knowledge and truly caring for the customer and their needs goes a long way. People aren’t dumb. They can sense a genuine person who cares and the person who is just chasing the money.
So, early on, I ignored some of the advice I was given because I knew it would do more damage than good. There is another side to this story though. What happens once you have an interested prospect, but maybe it isn’t a good fit?
In the early days, I would never turn down anyone who had an interest in buying or selling a home. It was another one of those training lessons that you stick with anyone who shows an interest and create a sale even if it takes years to complete.
The problem with the tactic is that not everyone is serious. There are many people who just like looking at beautiful homes and will take up your time going on a tour. What happens when you have a client who is rude and aggressive and bullies you? For whatever reason, these issue were ignored in the training. I guess the teacher who led the class felt that if they pointed these issues out, you would have an excuse for not working as hard. There was a long period of time when I would feel tremendous guilt if I turned away a person I didn’t believe would be a good fit for me.
That brings me to my career as a writer. In the early days of my career, I was constantly battling my gut. I would reason with myself that I was in no position to turn away anyone because I wasn’t making enough money to justify doing that. On the other hand, I just knew that it was for the better to turn some clients down. There were a variety of reasons. I had prospects that were impossible to get a hold of, clients with big dreams who loved getting together for meeting after meeting, but nothing ever seemed to get off the ground. There were people who were on the rude side and there were those I knew I could do work for, but would never see a payment from.
I struggled trying to figure out what I should do. Who was I to turn away anyone? If I did I felt I would never become successful. I figured that maybe quite possibly I was too picky. What changed my outlook, was that my worst fears were realized, every time I ignored my inner warning system.
I worked with one client who was impossible to get a hold of. Every now and then they would call up out of the blue and have a request for some work to be done. I struggled getting emails answered, phone calls returned and the assignment took three times as long to do because I had to wait for answers from the client. It threw off all my other work. I even had to chase them down to get the bill at the end paid. The bill was eventually paid in full, but the next time they requested my services, I said no. They were actually really nice, but ran their business in a very unorganized fashion. I just didn’t want to work that hard to get through the whole process.
I have had a few conversations with people and by the end of the phone call knew I would be turning their offer down. Either they had some unrealistic ideas of what I should be doing and what they would pay for that service or they were a meeting junkie who couldn’t take a five minute call and let me proceed. They liked the idea of pulling me away from the office, meeting at a coffee shop and discussing the project for an hour or two. We aren’t talking one initial meeting which is completely understandable, but a meeting for each step in the process. The time was wasted because a five minute call would have done the trick. This was time I could have been doing work and so I was losing money by attending meeting after meeting.
What has slowly evolved the longer I have had a career as a writer is that I love the clients I have. These are people who I admire. They are nice, decent hard-working individuals. I can’t help but be enthusiastic about their business and wanting to do the best job possible for them.
This is one of the best perks of running your own business. I get up each day, have wonderful people to connect to and love each part of my job. It feels good to know you did a good job for a client and that they are thrilled with the results. Another bonus is that good people know other good people. When they refer me to someone new, the new client is generally as terrific as the client I have been working with already.
I’d love to hear your opinion on this subject. Have you faced a situation where you were on the fence about choosing to work with a potential customer? Do you do a good job of sorting through who you would like to work with, or do you struggle to get good clients? Leave a comment and share your experience. Let’s get the conversation started.
If you enjoyed this article and would like more information on this topic, here are a couple of tremendously good articles that I highly suggest. They really get to the heart of why you should be picky about who you work with and why.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]