Today, I wanted to share with you one of my core values.  It is simply this:

I will not take on a client I do not believe I can honestly help to achieve their goals

Let me explain.

I work with my clients to help them achieve a better return on their marketing so as to increase their turnover and profit.  If I don’t believe that I can achieve this with them then I don’t take the work.

There are numerous reasons that can make me believe that this goal is not achievable. 

1. Lack of money to invest

You need to have a reasonable marketing budget to get a good return.  Many years ago, I once made the mistake of tailoring my offering to what the client could afford rather than what their business needed.  Their business really needed an investment of about 5 times their actual budget to get the growth they wanted.

The business did grow, to some degree but I do think I needed to have better clarified their expectations.

I now am very careful over their growth expectations and budget available.  As a rough rule of thumb, I look to increase their monthly turnover by about 10 times their monthly marketing spend with me. 

2. No workable fit

Sometimes, there is just no workable fit.  You have differences of opinions or styles or approaches or, more commonly, one of you has certain needs which the other can’t accommodate. 

A prospect need I came across early on in my career was a few businesses wanting me to work purely on commission.

I never did this.  I would recommend them to someone who did at the time, explaining “I have numerous clients who pay my rate and get good results.  The results are good as I commit the time needed to producing them.  I can’t make that commitment to a business who wants to work on a commission-only basis.  I recommended you speak to Paul.”

I just couldn’t meet their need so I referred them elsewhere.

3. Looking for validation of their own ideas rather than marketing support 

Early on in my career, I had one client who despite hiring me thought his ideas were better and pushed forward with them on his own.  I have no issue with this but it felt like I’d wasted my time and he’d wasted his money with me as well going down a few blind alleys.

Another aspect of this is a prospect asking me if I think their name, idea, product, service, marketing concept etc will work.  I have an idea of what will or won’t work for which target groups but I’d much rather rely on market research to answer this.  My general observation is that these people want to hear “yes, of course it will” despite my own (or their target market’s) thoughts on it.

There must be countless of millions spent a year on ideas, both large and small, which are doomed to failure due to a lack of market research.

I also meet a few prospects a year who seem to want to meet me purely to show off their marketing prowess.  This is a difficult position as they invariably lack the key components which make a good piece of marketing.  The position is the same as me drawing up an employment contract then asking a solicitor to praise it.  In either case, it is a waste of time for both of us.

I have learnt over the years to spot the signals for these issues so I can remove these prospects from my sales pipeline early on. After all, if there is no opportunity to work together then it is much better if my prospect and I know this as soon as possible.