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Month: February 2016

A Business Development Story – When It’s Time to Say No

Business development has its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down.

Recently, with the start of a new year we found ourselves in a business development cycle that was topsy-turvy, and very turbulent.

Sitting at the crossroads with several new possible new accounts and an existing account – it was apparent that I needed to switch strategies and several company policies.

This all happened at the same time and thus created a lot of stress and

Let’s start with the existing client…

When clients give you signs that they are emotionally unstable, or hot and cold – you need to make a decision if you are going to keep them in your wheel house, or let them go out to pasture.

In our case – we decided the later and it was a great decision, even though it hurt financially since the client owed us money, and we had a large list of work in development that was to be done in the coming months.

It’s better to find new clients that you can work with and enjoy the experience. Versus stressing out over a client who has a Jeckyl and Hyde personality.

In the same week – a New Biz Development trip 

With business development you sometimes take risks. Recently I took a trip out of state – but all the initial signs lead to what I refer to as listening to my gut. And my gut was right. It was a trip that didn’t need to happen.

Quite simply – a prospect who gave all the up front signs of being a difficult account. From simple signs like unaccountability, and lack of communication, to showing a card about the competition, it just wasn’t meant to be. I was relieved and elated to move forward in the search for clients that would be a good to great fit for us.

Back Home at The Ranch

Now on the other side of the fence back home we had a prospect that was also sending signals and signs of being difficult.

I’ll call this – ”The case for the potential client who wants too much for too little, and starts throwing mixed signals.”

After all the hours spent in preparation, research, proposal and budget estimates, this potential client decided to try and squeeze us on price, plus started to do a song and dance with the overall item.

Even though this potential account would bring in significant gross revenue, it just didn’t pan out and would not have been profitable over the period of the contract.

Had we taken on the account my hourly rate would have been brought down to less than half of what I charge for my time. Plus the additional account management hours and undue stress that I didn’t need. After all, I had just been in to the ER for chest pain and didn’t want to go back any time soon.

This client came along at a time when we could have really used the revenue since we lost two very large accounts the previous year. These two accounts equated to six figures in revenue.

But it didn’t make any difference because I knew that it was going to be one of those high maintenance accounts with people who are demanding, yet have internal issues that they won’t fix, but say that they are fixing.

Sometimes you have to say no and that means when you say no you mean it.

Just know that working with clients is never going to be easy. Clients are people, and people are not perfect. People have good days and bad days. So will you.

The lesson of this business development story is this: 

1.  Have a sales funnel that is diverse and full of quality prospects.

2.  When your gut says turn the other direction and run – go with your gut.

3.  When your gut is aching from stress, and all the potential client signals are showing bright red – take a right turn on the next side street and find a different way home.

More to come. Stay tuned.