I was once told by a client… “Most people do business with you because they like you.” While that doesn’t say much about the product, what he said certainly does have merit. After all, there are also people who DON’T do business with you, sans a great product, because they DON’T like you. There are some people who are put in charge of a department and they use that job to get back at, let’s say, the black kids who teased them in high school or they have something against women because of their mother or being rejected by the love of their life OR they may be all about supporting people from their college fraternity…who knows.
Sometimes we have a tendency to prove the potential client’s theory about us wrong but we are not Licensed Clinical Therapists. For the most part, as business owners, we are in touch with our intuition and we know when someone is probably not going to support our business… unfortunately, we also like a challenge and this whole process can be such a waste of time and it drives our business esteem in a negative direction. The effect can be long lasting and it doesn’t have to be.
There have been times that I was was left scratching my head when I saw competitors with far less of an effective product getting advertising that I just could not seem to —————————–get. There was one client I was so determined to get that I actually stayed on them for 5 years (laugh). Let’s be realistic folks, that was just foolish. I could have done so much more with that energy. If someone does not support you within their next budget cycle (maybe 2) chances are they are NOT going to support you. It all depends on how they respond to you whether or not you should continue to pursue them. Do they call YOU out of the blue? Do they email YOU out of the blue? Do they respond to your emails or phone calls? These are all signs that you can use to determine if the process is worth it. By the way, this particular client (5 Years) got an earful from me when I finally let them have it. What did I have to lose? I wasn’t curt.. but I was honest. Some people will tell you never do that, I say after a certain time… do it, here’s why… Your potential client may not be intentional, they may just be uninformed, in addition, you may learn something valuable.
Turned out the potential client told me he had been getting surveys from a competitor of mines on the most popular industry magazines and mines was never included. I thought things were great between me and this competitor and it appeared we were on good terms. We talked on the phone from time to time and talked about the ins and outs of business (this is another post I will talk about soon). Imagine my shock when I asked him why he thought that a competitor would support what I was doing and why didn’t he investigate this HIMSELF? Then I had to ask him why he would depend on one magazine to determine who he should advertise with across the board? He was dumbfounded. Let me give you a few more details. The company was an equipment company that was not used to being approached by an African American business.
The music industry, while great, has some mean lanes and people generally stay in theirs but I have never subscribed to that. That’s not to say it’s not a major problem in the industry… it is.. but I was able to have a different conversation with this client and while I still don’t have his business, we have a better understanding of each other and I got valuable information about my competition. Needless to say, my phone calls with the competitor were much shorter from that point on and I never approached him about it, I mean, for what? so he could deny it? That potential client has absolutely no reason to lie about that survey. The client was an older white guy and he was subscribing to the 70s, 80s and 90s mentally of the industry or “The Good Ole Boy’s Club” which in today’s internet savvy industry is just foolish. The great thing about the internet and having a business on it is that race or not liking someone has a much more minor role because advertisers are looking for “eyeballs” and the consolidation of corporations over the last decade in general has taken a lot of the “game” out of advertising and marketing. This is why some of the biggest magazines and newspapers are dying off. Everything has not only become results-driven, the person buying the ads has to justify the expenditure to the corporation now. So flawed research, while not dead, has fallen ill at best.
To that end, what I am saying is, the time that you spend trying to win a client over who is an incredible long shot could better serve you by let’s say, approaching a client who DOESN’T advertise with your competitors.
Wishing you the Best in Business