One of the hardest things to deal with is a lead asking to work with you and knowing, deep down that they’re not a good fit. So how do you gently turn away business without feeling like a jerk?
The first challenge when it comes to determining if a lead is a good fit is to know who your ideal client is, exactly. Now remember, ideal is perfect and you can serve clients well who don’t fit perfectly into the mold. But when someone is clearly not a good fit it’s in your best interest to say ‘no.’ Here’s why…
Non-ideal clients are usually people whom you clash with on a personal level meaning you’ll experience a lot of friction and fighting to see eye-to-eye.
They may also be clients who aren’t ready to work with you, maybe they don’t yet have the motivation, mindset or means. Imagine you’re putting 100% into a plan of action and they’re willing to do 5% – you’ll both be frustrated! Or if you’re hired to design a plan that will take a minimum $10,000 to implement and your client’s budget is really $1,000. Frustrating!
Saying no to non-ideal clients isn’t a judgment on them as a person or business, it’s a matter of fit. If you’re struggling with this consider the first person you ever dated. If it didn’t work out that’s not to say either of you are terrible people, just not good together.
I have 3 strategies you can use to find out if someone is an ideal client for your offer:
Strategy #1 Clearly share who you do work with online
This should be apparent on your website, as a one page info sheet you can give prospects – be sure to communicate who is best for your offers from the start.
Need to figure out how to identify your ideal client? Start here (link to earlier blog post)
Strategy #2: Ask leads to fill out information before meeting with you
By getting this information up front you can review before investing time with a lead who may be wrong for your offer. Services such as WuFoo, Gravity and Google form are all great resources for creating a form with open ended questions. You can review these forms to gauge if someone is right for your business before meeting and create a simple “not a good fit” email template to send.
Strategy #3: Be firm and stand your ground
Some people are very persistent and will be flattering but stay firm if they’re not a good fit. Building some referrals so you can provide a lead with another option.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to admit that you’re not the best person to help them reach their goals so they can find the right person. Remember that you’re not responsible for their choices or circumstances but you are responsible to do the right thing.
I know it’s hard to turn away paying clients, especially if you’re skint but you have to trust that your marketing will attract the right leads to your business and know that you’ll have a much better relationship when you work with the right people.
Share in the comments below about a time when you didn’t turn away the wrong client or how you approach saying no.