No, no, no — yes!
“No” from a client doesn’t always really mean no. It just means that you didn’t do your job selling yourself to your client.
Sometimes you just didn’t connect fully with what they really want. Or you didn’t present your proposal well. Or the price was higher than they wanted.
But persistance usually pays off.
Overcoming client objections is part of landing a project. Clients rarely come without preconceived ideas of what you will do for them, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and so on. When your proposal doesn’t match what they expect, they get deflated. Or annoyed. Or they just decide to look elsewhere.
How you respond to their reaction determines your ultimate fate with this client.
…do you walk away too? After all, they clearly didn’t appreciate your obvious superhero-yness when it comes to marketing.
…do you come back with a panicky 50% cut of your rates and wild promises about being able to complete the project faster than most ordinary humans?
…or do you come back with a respectful second try, admitting that maybe you didn’t present yourself as well as you could have? Do you offer them a new perspective or options they didn’t think of?
In short, do you take the time to really consider the project as though it you actually own it?
Case in point: I recently started a dialog with a potential client to write an article on a subject that required lots of statistics on response rates and before/after comparisons. This client asked that I provide personal results to support the theme of the article.
I didn’t have any stats of the type the client requested readily available, and I told him as much. He responded with a “thanks anyway”, and mentioned offhandedly that none of the other writers who responded to his project posting could provide stats either. He was — in his words — baffled.
Aside: Marketers — especially copywriters — should always keep stats on the effectiveness of your work. It’s the only way to know that you’re actually making a difference for your clients. It’s also a great way to win new projects from existing clients, by reminding them how great your past work has been.
At this point I could have moved on. But I noticed that this client was “baffled” — frustrated — by the lack of a solution to his challenge.
I responded with an offer to interview other marketing consultants and business owners, in lieu of using results that I’ve personally attained. I also offered a couple of ideas as additions or alternatives to a regular article, that would be more flexible and easier to incorporate into his B2B campaign.
His response? He was clearly thrilled at the prospect of a solution that he hadn’t considered! He also appreciated the ideas for how to use the data once we have it.
But most of all, I think he appreciated having an partner on the project, a partner who was willing to invest time and thought into making it work and clearing the hurdles.
Will I ultimately win the project and complete it to this client’s satisfaction? Time will tell. This is still a work-in-progress.
But if I had taken “No” for an answer, I would never even have had the opportunity.