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When to Walk Away…

Written by Tayo Solagbade

Topics: Public Speaking

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Publication: Tayo Solagbade’s Weekly Public Speaking IDEAS Page (PSIP) Newsletter

Date: Monday 24th September 2012

No: 56

Title: When to Walk Away…

Author & Publisher: Tayo K. Solagbade [234-803-302-1263]

Blog URL: http://www.spontaneousdevelopment.com/blog

Archive (For E-mail only version started 14th May 2012): Click here to view

Archive (For Blog version started 24th September 2011): Click here

Hi,

Please find below the latest issue of my weekly Public Speaking Ideas page for 2012. 

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No. 56: When to Walk Away…

Not every prospect or client that comes along with an offer will be a good fit for you. Knowing when to walk away is therefore a valuable skill.

If you accept work from everyone who makes an offer, there’s a good chance you’ll hurt your business eventually.

Many business owners make this mistake at least once. And it can be quite hard to get over. Sometimes they make the mistake because they need the business. Or because they got carried away by a wave of success and let their defenses drop.

So, they fail to notice the obvious warning signs that appear during their discussions with a prospect or client.

This can lead to a humiliating experience for them. For instance, they could end up negotiating in a needy manner…allowing the client dictate what to pay, how to pay and when to pay (to paraphrase Jason Leister) – and even how the work is to be done.

I’ve made these mistakes many times in the past. I sometimes did so because I wanted to “help” the clients. Unfortunately, some clients interprete such willingness to imply you’re desperate for work. And they naturally seek to make the most of the opportunity.

If you give in, you only set yourself up for a figurative uppercut from greedy clients. Not a smart way to do business. Such clients ONLY care about themselves. They will say – and do – anything to get what they want. And that includes telling bare faced lies.

Here are three warning signals to watch out for:

1. Carrot Dangling: An elderly prospect once said to me…

“Look, the board hasn’t released the main funds yet. So, we’re not exactly buoyant right now. If you speak for a low price now, there’s a big conference we’re planning to do in a few weeks. We’ll simply award it to you. Let’s just get to know each other with this one by using it as a run up to the main job you’ll be doing for us.

I’ve heard this line from CEOs of hotels, the training manager of a government agency and even church leaders. Not one came through with the promised follow up work!

With those lessons in my experience bag, I now give the following polite response to others who try using the same line on me:

That’s okay. Let’s just do what you can afford to pay for now. When your funds are released, we can always continue from where we stopped. I personally prefer working on the bird in hand.

And like I’ve written elsewhere, I always do it with a big smile on my face. Some still take offense though, telling me I’m too rigid. Hmm…I hear you!

2. Reluctance to Talk Money: Sometimes you’ll meet a prospect or client who talks all about the work s/he wants done, and asks a battery of questions to confirm you are competent.

But s/he never asks what your fees are, or how much it will cost to deliver your talk program. When this happens, watch out!

Such persons usually come unprepared to offer worthwhile remuneration. And when you do bring it up, they’re likely to favour haggling as opposed to negotiating. Most times, such exchanges will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

If you notice the above warning signal, prepare to walk away. The client and his/her offer may not be a good fit for you.

3. Tag Teaming: Some prospects/clients may try to put you in direct competition with another provider, who more often than not WILL be in on the game they’re playing. They create the impression that someone else is ready to do the job for next to nothing. This is so as to force you to accept a much lower fee that you normally would.

Here’s a real-life example of how you can handle an attempt to treat you this way:

We were discussing details of the final aspect of a project he wanted to assign to me, which I was to give him a quote for.

But Tayo, the other guy who does my programming can also do this, and I’m sure he’ll do it for next to nothing.” said the client.

Then he went out to the outer office, brought back the other guy, and went through the motions of explaining what the issue was, to him.

The “programmer” (not surprisingly) said “Of course I can do it. In fact, the method I’ll use will produce equally good, if not better reports”.

The client (now literally drooling at the thought that I’d cave in) said:

That’s what I was just saying. The only difference is that Tayo’s method is a bit faster. Otherwise, your method can deliver the same output that his does. In fact I’m thinking maybe Tayo should hold on and let me try your way first.”

As I watched them, I knew it was time to walk away. I’d seen a “Tag team act” before. And I disliked the exploitative intention.

So, I said “I have a better idea. Why not simply use his solution? There’s no point killing a fly with a hammer. Once his solution already meets your needs, why pay to get mine?

Both men looked up at me in surprise. I pretended not to notice. “No, no. You don’t understand. I think I’ll still need to come back to you” the client blurted out.

I countered by saying: “But why? From what your man here has said, he has a solution that will work just like you want. To be honest, I’m a bit relieved and also happy for you. At least you won’t have to spend too much to get what you want.

I threw in a few jokes for effect, as we debated the matter. But I gently pressured them to accept my proposal. Their smiles were noticeably strained as I shook hands with them and departed. But I was done. I wasn’t going to let anyone keep me dangling on a string.

However, it did not end there.

Three weeks later, the client called. By some strange coincidence, I was right across the road from his office at the time. So, when he asked if I could pop in, I agreed.

I arrived to learn they had some issues manipulating Excel database records using the other guy’s method. He needed to query the database to isolate unique records. “What’s the problem?” I asked. He said “When I do it, I keep getting duplicates in my results.

I replied “Well I initially had a similar challenge, and found a way around it. Just specify additional criteria from the database fields to enable you eliminate the duplicates. Unfortunately, I don’t know your method. But you understand what I mean, right?

He nodded and smiled uncomfortably, mumbling something about the data provided by the client not being “clean”. I pointed out that I’d had to contend with that same challenge. “Do what I did – help him clean it where possible!” I said with a smile.

At this point I thought: “I don’t want to be pulled any further into this. The sooner I get out of here, the better.” So, I politely excused myself and left (with the client saying “Ah, you’re always in a hurry. Anyway, I’m still going to call you etc”).

Conclusion

Once again I had known when to walk away – with my dignity intact. I’d shown my willingness to clarify issues relating to the work I’d already done. But as soon as I’d established that the problem they were having had nothing to do with me, I knew it was time to leave. If the client wished to bring me in, we would have to discuss that.

Not knowing when to walk away can set you up to be exploited. You’ll come away feeling used and dumped. And you’d have no one to blame but yourself. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. And I’ve learnt to protect myself. You should too.

Comments?

What do you think of the above message? Do you have any personal experience to share on this subject? Are there some other points you feel can be added, to help persons looking for answers? Please share your thoughts – click here to post a comment on the blog!

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Have a lovely week!

Tayo K. Solagbade*

Self-Development/Performance Improvement Specialist

*Sole Agent For Burt Dubin’s Speaker Mentoring Service In Africa

Mobile: 234-803-302-1263

http://www.spontaneousdevelopment.com

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Self-Development/Performance Enhancement Specialist – Tayo Solagbade– works as a Multipreneur, helping individuals/businesses develop and implement strategies to achieve their goals, faster and more profitably.

Visit Tayo’s Self-Development Nuggets™ blog to find out how you can get your FREE copy of his new Practical Guide to Important Feed Ingredients (with high resolution pictures, prices, nutrients, uses etc). When he’s not amazing clients with his superhuman skills (wink), Tayo works as the creative force behind his Cost-Saving Farm Business Ideas website, and the Public Speaking IDEAS newsletter (which he publishes to promote Burt Dubin’s Public Speaking Mentoring service to experts working across the African continent).

Depending on his availability, Tayo accepts invitations to deliver customisable talks and keynote speeches on topics relating to his areas of experience based expertise and interest. Visit http://www.tksola.com to learn how you can invite Tayo, to speak at your next meeting/event.

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[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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