A client with a creative business called me one day and asked the following question. It’s a question I get asked frequently, so rather than write an entire article, I decided just to tell you exactly what I told her.
Q: Kirstin —
Do you have a graceful exit strategy for those situations when you are face-to- face and realize that, for whatever reason, you do NOT want to work with this prospect? Let’s say, for example, that you qualified the prospect and then when you meet, you discover that you don’t have good chemistry, or you sense a red flag.
— Margery, Phoenix MD
A: Margery —
Great question. Once you realize they aren’t a good match, simply tell them that you don’t think you are the perfect consultant/coach/etc. for their specific needs and recommend them to one or two other people whom you think they would jibe with better.?
This lets you out of the relationship, without burning bridges. In fact, I’ve done this and gotten referrals from the client whom I referred to others. Generally, people are so impressed that you don’t take them on under the wrong circumstances that they think even more highly of you.
This another reason you have to know who your competitors are and keep a few of them around to refer to. Of course, referring them to a competent company is definitely a good thing.
It is much better to refer the client to someone more appropriate, then try to work with the client.