- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 2
- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 1
- 5½ [behind-the-scenes] Marketing & Sales Activities You Need To Do in December
- Got something to say?
- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
- Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!
- Your Sales Forecast Doesn’t Have to be a Guessing Game!
- Lead generation is a 3-step process.
- Measuring Sales… it’s Not just about Revenue
- 7 Selling Behaviors Seller-Doers Must Employ to be Successful.
- Can you really be “all things to all people?”
- 12 Marketing & Sales Activities you Gotta STOP this Year!
- How to maximize the impact of your marketing investment.
- Revenue Growth? Try the ‘5% Challenge’… it’s Brilliant!
- Should you ever walk away from revenue?
- Get Ready for 2017 with these 6 Marketing & Sales Activities
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 2
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 1
- 10 Guidelines for How to Be Successful at Sales
- Strategy Before Tactics!
- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
- The Sales Presentation: Stop Reading the PowerPoint Slides and Tell Your Story
- Content Marketing not working? Eh, don’t worry about it!
- Marketing Measurement: 3 New Methods You Have to Try in 2016
- The One Thing You Must Include in Your 2016 Marketing & Sales Plan
- Not using LinkedIn? Are you kidding me?!
- Is it OK to fire a client?
- Take Charge of Your Own Success… Stop Relying on Others!
- Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
- 9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
- The Top 10 Ways to Build Awareness
- The 13 Most Common Website Mistakes
- The Most Important Part of Exhibiting
- Content marketing isn’t a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing.
- THINKING! A framework for creating better business plans in 2015.
- Not happy with your marketing & sales? Then make just one change in 2015!
- For Beginners: Should I Tweet Daily? Yes… and here’s how.
- Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
- How to Connect with Booth Visitors – An Exhibitor’s Worksheet
- Not getting the email results you want? Make sure you’re following these 7 email marketing guidelines.
- 10 Ways to Get Clients to Sell FOR You (and they won’t cost a dime!)
- Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
- 11 execution tips to help you exceed client expectations
- How to Turn First-time Clients into Repeat Clients
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 2
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 1
- 13 Lessons for Researchers Who Don’t Want (or Like) to Sell
- Social media marketing success in 30 minutes a day
- Get it right! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
- How MR firms are blowing it with new customers: Lessons learned while secret shopping
- Management or sales… you can’t serve two masters.
- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
- How that ‘one great client’ could doom your firm
- Six marketing and sales mistakes MR firms make every day
- Eight proven ways to build awareness – and why you should!
- Suspects, Prospects and Clients: Is your firm focused on the right target?
- A Checklist for Conducting Your Own Marketing & Sales Audit
- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
- 25 low- or no-cost ways to grow your business
- 15 Reasons E-mail Still Matters in Sales and Marketing
- Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- How to see yourself as clients see you
- Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work
- Use the 8 Ps of Marketing when Setting Strategy
- Integrate the 4 As of Marketing into Your Planning
- Size Does Matter: 4 Approaches to Growing Your Business
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 2)
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 1)
Should you ever walk away from revenue?
Yes, unfortunately. In fact, there are two circumstances under which you should ‘fire’ a client… and two when you should walk away from the opportunity in the first place.
Recently, I was chatting with a senior-level contact at a mid-sized research firm located in the Northeast. We were just getting caught up with each other and talking about business in general. During the conversation, he said that his business was off a bit this year and that one of the reasons for it was that he had to walk away from one of his largest clients (i.e. he ‘fired’ them). He said the stress on his staff of working with them just wasn’t worth it any more.
Which got me to thinking about those times in our industry when – as much as you hate to – you have to walk away from the revenue because it’s the right thing to do for your firm…
Firing a client
The reason for firing a client generally falls into one of two categories…
1) They are not a profitable client… or, at least, not as profitable as your other clients.
This most often happens when, over time, the client beats you down on price (and you cave in)… or maybe, because you’re so nice, you’ve thrown in a freebie here and there and now it’s caught up with you… or maybe, out of loyalty to the client, you are working with them in an old, outdated, more expensive way (call it a “legacy” client) and you just can’t afford to keep doing it that way.
2) The reason I come across most often, however – and like the firm I mentioned above – is that the stress of working with a particular client just isn’t worth it.
What causes this stress? Sometimes the client is just too needy – taking up much more of your time than they should – asking lots of questions, emailing you at all times of the day and night and (god forbid) you gave them your cell phone number! Some clients are overly demanding… everything they want from you is a ‘rush’ (whether they really need it that quickly or not) and it’s wearing out your PMs. But the worst are the abusive clients – unfriendly, unprofessional, rude… that because they’re the mighty client and you’re just a lowly vendor, they look down on you and feel like they can push you around. Ugh!
Not accepting new business
Occasionally, you’ll be approached by a new sales prospect who’s seems genuinely excited about the chance to work with you… but you have to say “no thanks” right up front. Here’s usually what’s driving that…
1) While you really hate to turn down any revenue, some businesses just aren’t a ‘fit’ for your firm – even if you could do the work.
It could be that they’re in a vertical industry that you don’t work in… it could be that they’re too small (or even too large)… maybe what they want from you is just a little outside your core competency… or maybe they’re looking for a relationship structure that doesn’t fit your business model (e.g. you require a 25% downpayment, but they are unwilling to pay it).
2) Perhaps – and this is the hardest one to clearly define – your ‘gut’ says something is not quite right with the situation. Twice in the past few years this has happened to me:
- The first time, I just got a bad feeling about the firm’s owner (though he didn’t do or say anything to suggest that) – but my gut feel would not go away. And he really wanted to work with us. My response? I submitted a proposal with prices so high that I never heard from him again. It kept my conscience clear, too!
- In the second situation, there were no ‘bad’ feelings… I had a ‘funny feeling’ that this was an engagement that just would not go well. Guess what? I accepted it anyway and my original hunches were dead on… it was an engagement that was just a pain-in-the-a** from the get-go. My takeaway… when you gut tells you what to do… listen to it!
Our goal – as business owners, senior executives and marketing & sales staffers – is to help our companies grow. But every once in a while, when you’re not set up for success, you have to bite the bullet and walk away from that ‘bad’ revenue… the price you’ll pay just isn’t worth the reward.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen to you too often!