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Identifying red flags before they hit you in the eye!

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Not everyone is your ideal client. Sometimes it’s because they’re in an industry outside your target market. Sometimes, it’s simply because they’re disrespectful, pushy, or rude.

One of my clients runs a design firm that specializes in working in the financial and hi-tech sectors. Over the years, he has become an expert in these industries. His firm has become the “go-to” firm for these industries, which is what many creative businesses aim to be.

How did he get there?

By saying no to projects that didn’t fit, and pursuing ones that did.  He understands that if you say “yes” to a project outside of your market, it means you might have to say “no” to a project that will further your business goals.

Recently, this designer said “no” to an inquiry that was outside of his target market. And it wasn’t taken well.

Here’s what happened:

My client, the designer, got a call from someone way outside his market — a building construction company — who wanted to inquire about working together.

Comfortably pursuing his market, the designer explained to the construction company owner that since his firm specializes in financial and hi-tech industries, they wouldn’t be a “good match” for the construction company.

The construction company owner was insulted at the designer’s response. To paraphrase, the construction company owner said:

Is my company not big enough or successful enough for you to work with us? We do millions and millions in business every year. We are incredibly successful. How dare you say we are not a good fit for you?

The designer tried to explain, but with no luck.

Taken aback at the harsh retort from the caller, the designer immediately knew he wouldn’t want to work with this type of person anyway. He was glad that his filtering process had also succeeding in filtering a prospect who would have neither been a good "target market fit," nor a good “personality fit.”

Have you ever had a prospect expect you should work with them, just because they had to work to offer?

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