There are moments in my business life that have stuck with me. It was years ago, but I remember this meeting well. Todd, the vice president of marketing, pointed to a bronze plaque on the wall of his office that read: “Hustle is heaven if you’re a hustler. Hustle is hell if you’re not.” “Any questions?” he asked, and then smiled.
His plaque spoke volumes about Todd’s approach and the culture of his company. Todd later told me that he often points to that plaque and explains to people who are trying to win his business: “We like to move fast, and we do whatever it takes to get the job done. This is a no excuses environment for everyone involved.”
But don’t let Todd scare you — his intentions are good. He just wants any and all service providers who don’t have what it takes to keep up to rethink the wisdom of seeking his business.
I wouldn’t mind if all prospective clients were as transparent as Todd. Most people are far less forthcoming about what it’s really like to work with them. That can lead to some disappointing situations.
In my experience, a productive relationship with any client starts by first listening to them very carefully. What are they saying and not saying? It’s so important to draw them out.
Then, if you still want their business, tell them how you work and what results they can realistically expect. Educate them. Don’t just sell to them.
When you’re committed to achieving a great fit, the right clients will respect you for it. Your business relationships will also be far more fulfilling and profitable.
Do you have some questions about how to qualify prospective clients? I’m here to help. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.