Surprise. It’s all about honesty

Last week we had a sales meeting with a potential client. As it turned out, we were unable to help with the task they had in mind. It was outside our area of expertise.

We may have been able to fudge it. Call us stupid, but we don’t think ‘fudging it’ is the way to keep clients happy or maintain a low client turnover.

In this situation there are two options:

  1. Quote ludicrously high with the aim of missing out on the job. In the event the quote is accepted, the job can be outsourced with a tidy profit.
  2. Tell the truth and decline the work

We chose the latter option and used the opportunity to explain our areas of expertise. Selling the company, not the lie.

The natural fear is the potential client will storm out of the meeting, muttering obscenities under their breath.

What actually happens is the potential client realises their current project – or at least the original part of their current project – is a bad fit. They also realise they’re not dealing with sleazy salesmen willing to say anything to get a job and deal with the consequences later.

The second realisation sells a company. It’s something that can be used to convert a single project into a long term relationship.

Ludicrously high quoting, lies or fudging a task may get you more clients but getting clients isn’t the aim, the real aim is to keep them.

Published by Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson is a Senior WordPress Engineer at Human Made and contributor to WordPress core. Peter has worked on the web for twenty years on everything from table based layouts in the 90s to enterprise grade CMS development. Peter’s a big fan of musical theater and often encourages his WordPress community colleagues to join him for a show or two in New York or in the West End.