Last month, two prospects offered to pay me for stuff they didn’t need.
I talked them both out of it.
Am I crazy?
What you ordered, not what you wanted
Have you ever demanded a particular restaurant meal?
The waiter advised against it, but you pushed on regardless.
Only when the dish arrived did you realise you should’ve listened.
Careful what you wish for
It’s like this with some of my prospects and clients.
They come to me with a fixed idea of what they need.
They really really want it, and they’re prepared to pay.
And even though I can do it, I feel duty bound to advise against it.
This is happening more often with press releases and print ads in newspapers and magazines.
There was a time when one of these was all you needed to achieve your goal.
Now, with media fragmenting into a thousand channels and newspapers in decline, they just don’t have the same clout.
The problem is, clients who’ve tasted success with ‘old’ media in the (often distant) past don’t realise the world has changed. A lot.
So I have to word them up.
I try to be an ethical chap.
I believe The Great Wheel rewards those who do the right thing. Eventually.
But my approach isn’t all just hearts and flowers.
Regardless of my prior achievements, I’m judged on the performance of my latest piece of writing.
So, if I write a magnificent yet inappropriate communication that fails, I look as bad as my client.
If, however, I save a misguided client from folly, they may just remember my kindness and trust me with future work they do actually need.
That’s the theory, anyway.
In a coming post, I plan to do a case study of a prospect for whom the old ways just don’t work anymore.
This business has kindly agreed for us to examine and debate a tricky situation that’s really cramping their style.
They’ll learn a lot and we’ll probably learn even more.
Knock yourself out
But before I table this story, I’d like to get a feel for where you stand on unnecessary client purchases.
To this end:
- Do your customers ever ask for stuff you know they don’t need?
- If so, do you:
- Refuse point blank to supply them.
- Try to talk them out of it, but let them win if they’re adamant.
- Take their money and run.
- Something else (describe).
I know one thing for sure:
I need you more than you need me.
So let’s talk