As a business owner, knowing your ideal client is the foundation for marketing and promoting your business. My mentor says, the first five years of business is really figuring out who you want to work with and refining it to the point that you can truly monetize your gifts, skills and talents. Along the journey, however, you will meet a few persons who I affectionately call ‘time wasters’ who will make you question your sanity and your reason for getting into business in the first place. I’ve compiled a list of the top offenders and my recommendation for handling them. Let me know if you’ve encountered any of these as you make your way through this entrepreneurial life.
The False Hope Givers
These give the illusion that they are going to do business with you but don’t officially commit. They tell you how fantastic you are and how they really need someone like you to help and, instead of taking one of your packages, they bait you by asking for advice with seemingly insignificant questions like:
- Could you check this over for me?
- What do you think about this?
- I would really appreciate some advice on this?
- Could you just look this over and let me know if I’m on track?
They are well aware that you are extremely knowledgeable in your field, but have absolutely zero intentions of ever doing business. All they just need to know how much they can get for FREE.
How to handle them: Now while I will always say give value and information, you must know when to draw the line. If you offer a free consultation that’s the time to discuss a way forward, anything additional simply advise would be at a cost. For every email, phone call, whatsapp or pm that they subsequently send, simply reassure them that you’re more than willing to offer any assistance they need and advise on the cost attached.
The Meeting Junkies
These cannot entertain a business meeting unless it’s face to face. They make all types of excuses as to why they cannot have a virtual discussion and before long you’ve spent hours getting ready and heading to this meeting to discuss absolutely nothing. You lose a day and a piece of your sanity in the process.
How to handle them: In this technological age, there are so many ways to connect. Ask them specifically what they would like to discuss and get to the root of why they need to have that personal contact, especially if it’s an initial consultation and you’re not even sure if you can help them as a client. Give them the information they need and, offer a platform to discuss such email, telephone call or platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, FB chat or even Whatsapp chat as an alternative to meet. If they keep insisting then you can either roll the dice and see if it leads to anything or move on to someone else who isn’t so afraid of technology.
The False Enthusiasts
These make you believe that everything is great and they’re ready to move forward. You all have had a fantastic conversation and they’ve asked for the contract, invoice and are seemingly ready to enter into a partnership with you. You’re happy, relived and have made adjustments to your business in order to accommodate them……then……they disappear. Not a phone call, email or message. They’ve just seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. If you’re lucky to ever hear from them again they usually say something like “I’ll get back to you” but almost never do.
How to handle them: These are extremely difficult to spot because there’s no signal to alert you beforehand that you’re not actually dealing with a serious business professional but a mystical creature that doesn’t have the courtesy to at least say they aren’t interested any more. My suggestion would be to craft a carefully worded email letting them know your displeasure, advising them that you’ve decided release them from their contract……at least until they’ve learned some manners.
The Financial Phobes
These cannot move forward because they’re unable make it to the bank and refuse to use any other means of making payments such as credit cards or online bank transfers. While there are a few persons where this might actually the be the case, the issue with the financial phobe is more along the lines of not actually having the funds to pay rather than the payment method itself.
How to handle them: For these you have to be direct without actually calling them out. Let them know that if payment is not received by a certain time then they will be in danger of jeopardizing the contact or you may need to adjust the price. Invite them to have a conversation to let you know how to assist
The Busy Bodies
These are just always just so busy. No matter the time of the day or day of the week they just cannot have a discussion with you. While there are a few that honestly fall into this category (either because they have not mastered the art of managing their time or because they actually need the help as they do everything themselves), there are the ones who are busy doing absolutely nothing and then impose their impossible timelines, demanding that what they took months to give you feedback on, must be done now.
How to handle them: This one is a bit tricky to handle. You should be patient and offer your assistance periodically letting them know that you are here to support them. Let them know that you are available when they are ready, however when they do get back to you give them a time frame as to when they can get the best possible solution to their issue.
These love to voice their opinions as to what you should offer. The problem is when you do create it, they find every excuse not to buy.
How to handle them: I attended a seminar a few months ago and the advice the speaker suggested was to disregard the persons who just give random advice off the top of their heads. Focus on the persons who have taken action in the past and are looking to increase what little success they’ve had. Those are the persons who are more than likely going to purchase from you.
So these are the six types of time wasters that I have found on my journey.
What about you? Do you agree? Did I leave anyone out?