I met with a client recently who shared with me that she would rather turn away business than take on board a client who has unrealistic expectations or for whom she believes her service is not a good fit.
This reminded me of how my mother (above) (still running her own business) has always approached things.
As the owner of an Estate Agency she would often have young families come to her with unrealistic expectations of whether they could service a mortgage for their first home. When she met with potential purchasers she would really get to know them – not just find out what they thought they were after (e.g. four bedrooms, with a pool, near a bus stop). Through getting into their heads and finding out about their lifestyle and ambitions she would often steer them away from buying, for a year or two. This even extended to taking them to meet her friendly bank manager (remember when we had them?) and working out a saving plan to boost their deposit and what they could eventually afford.
In other words – she would walk away from that business.
My new client has a similar mind set.
And that takes real guts.
If you are a relatively new business the survival of the business depends on generating income.
But if you take on board customers for whom you won’t enjoy the experience, or knowing it will not match their dreams, you can do more damage to your business in the long term.
Driving home from getting a brief from my new client I pondered: Why is it that she, and my mum, and I, feel (though sometimes disappointed) quite comfortable saying no to a new customer and assured that turning business down is a positive thing?
I know in my mum’s case that most of those young couples would come back a year or so down the track and she would establish what has proven to be a lifelong relationship with her whenever it has come to buying and selling (some of the grandchildren have gone on to buy their first home through her).
But there is no guarantee that you will get the business or even the positive word of mouth.
I think it is because we have gone into our businesses absolutely believing in the long term.
Yes – we have to get through the next 6 months. But if you look at every day in your business as being only 1 day forward in the next 10 years of its growth – you can make rational long term strategic decisions.
Can you share whether you make decisions based on now, or tomorrow, or both?
Have you walked away from business?