Harkening back to my “CPA who can’t sell” rant, Dorian wrote the following about saying no (shared with permission):
Love this email,
I’m finally getting to the point where I can say no when there isn’t a good fit.
As to qualifying, I’ve moved away from talking about me, unless asked later in the conversation, but now days I go right to the problem trying to be solved. When a prospective client comes to me, usually via another client (what I call my partner clients) When we have the first conversation, I probe to find out what their goals are (eg. Make part x into a molded part or on a larger scale, I need to make this napkin sketch into a working prototype) I then probe for commitment by asking if they understand the downstream costs that will be incurred by the molding company if their goal is production parts. Once I have laid out the entire process of what they will be going through simply through questions, rather than by lecture, I can ascertain if it’s a good fit or not. What I really prefer to do is not waste either the client or my time on a project that they can’t afford to proceed with, not from my cost, but from the total project cost. This how I can show expertise, value add, and overall experience without once saying how great I am, and the client has learned valuable information without actually having to go through a process that may be doomed to fail from the start. It’s like you say, I take control of the call almost immediately.
I love hearing stories like this!
Check out more of Dorian’s journey on this here episode of the podcast I publish: http://consultingpipelinepodcast.com/073