Earlier this year, Seth Godin wrote a premium post entitled, Avoiding The Custom Bully. He quotes:
“Part of the challenge of selling custom work is that it sometimes seems that everything is up for grabs. You should stay up all night for a week. You should rearrange the orchids in order of smell, because even though it’s not in the spec, hey, that would be good service, and we are paying a lot…”
In my experience it tends to be the ones who don’t pay a lot that want more “bang for their buck.”
However, as my friend put it, “you can’t shop in Harrods and expect to pay Primark prices.” Primark is the UK equivalent of Walmart by the way. And I learnt the hard way some years ago that the prospects who negotiate hard during the proposal stage are the ones who are more likely to be the custom bully.
You Must Know When It’s Time To Walk Away
My previous mentor, Alex Mandossian, taught me to avoid working with people who try to drive a hard bargain at the proposal stage because these are the clients who would give you the most headache, and it’s true!
And setting boundaries is also a good way of qualifying your prospects. If they’re insistent that they only want to pay India prices, do the decent thing and send them to India.
On the other hand, if you set the boundaries and they’re willing to work within your parameters, it will “eliminate the temptation to bully. State them early and often and don’t alter them and believe it or not, the client will be happier as well.” ~ Seth Godin.
Trust yourself and believe that you deserve better. If they value your work enough and you’re providing a premium service then don’t be afraid to charge premium prices, and hold out for premium clients.
If it’s true that “birds of a feather flock together,” choosing the right prospects will get you more of what you want but you have to attract what you want and “no” is sometimes the right answer to the wrong bird.
So you choose … the custom bully who wants the farm, or more clients who value your service.
I’m personally grateful to all my current clients (some of whom I’ve worked with for years) and even for those with whom I’ve served in the past who have pushed the boundaries, I’m grateful to them too since they have taught me the value of setting my own boundaries.
Blessings to you all,