If you sign up to this guff you know I like to pluck a retro name out of the air and create a persona.
In this case, Denise: the worst prospect ever to cast a shadow over my inbox.
See, she’ll never hire me.
To her, I seem like a party pooper, a bit of a fun sponge, someone who would be terrible to go out for a drink with.
(I am hilarious to go out for a drink with, btw.)
This ain’t my first rodeo when it comes to writing about the worst prospect. I scribbled something down about 5 bad client traits some time ago, frothing at the mouth as I typed.
(In a rage, I didn’t contract rabies.)
As business owners, it’s a recurring theme. Sure, we get better at repelling the tyre-kickers but occasionally some douche slips through the net.
Denise hates my process
She thinks my business ways are inflexible and officious – I sound like I’ve got a rod up my arse (apparently).
(Yes, I too am thinking of Rod Stewart up my arse. Sorry, no one needs to read that / think that.)
This bollocks has a lot to do with that thing some twat called social selling.
The ‘people buy from people’ mantra has somehow evolved to mean we must make friends with everyone that’s a potential client.
I’m of the opinion that people often become friends AFTER they’ve worked with you for a spell.
The idea that I have to go through some mind-numbing pretence of being your bestie so that you’ll hire me, is ruddy nonsense.
Denise can’t believe I don’t do calls
And that I especially dislike face-to-face Zoom meetings.
They. Don’t. Help. Me. Get. The. Job. Done.
But Denise gets apoplectic when faced with a refusal to chat.
How else can she explain what she needs from me?!
She has no clue if we’re going to “gel” – she can’t possibly nurture a working relationship without it?!
A relationship that might lead to further work, some hilarious bants, a night out, and maybe even sex.
(We’ve all been there.)
Hi, I’m Sarah Wilson-Blackwell and I’m an introvert
(I know, I know, I can’t possibly be one coz I do loads of extrovert stuff innit. Oh, fuck off!)
Listen, I’m great at faking being at ease.
I can do congenial and funny but I don’t have to as I’m no longer an employee.
In the very early, dark days of self-employment, I had a Skype meeting with a prospect (yes, before Zoom) it lasted an hour but it felt much longer.
He spent 10 minutes of that time alluding to what he actually wanted which meant the guy still had to email me all the details.
In my experience, when you write down what you need, it focuses your brain, you’re less likely to go off down tangent lane.
I can also refer back to what you’ve said to avoid missing shit out.
If you provide everything I ask and stuff still gets missed, that’s on me. But it won’t because I’ve finely tuned my system. You need to be willing to trust that I know what I’m doing.
Denise doesn’t like paying for proposals
Those bitches take hella time.
But the really wonderful thing is, you get that cost deducted if you book the work.
And if you don’t?
You can ghost the shit outta me and I won’t care.
Also, I have some pretty specific Ts and Cs.
Certain points get Denise in a lather though…
She doesn’t want to pay upfront and she can’t accept I don’t allow endless rewrites.
Denise can go to hell
When the worst prospect tries to make me dance to their tune, ignores my boundaries, and still insists on sending me a Zoom link, I know we’re not going to work.
It’s not me, Denise, it’s most definitely you.
Yous reading this ain’t stupid.
You know this is about qualifying a client and it all comes under the banner of brand polarisation.
My process exists to make my life easier, that’s my priority.
But it also makes my client’s life easier – I’m actively saving them time.
In real life, problems like Denise only happen when they’ve been referred to me.
Some lovely person has done so with the best of intentions but I know the project is unlikely to go ahead with me included.
Denise doesn’t know me
She hasn’t come to me because she likes the cut of my jib.
It’s fair to surmise, spicy seasoning ain’t what she wants on her web offering.
No, these types nearly always want generic and bland as fuck content.
If getting Denise to follow my process is like herding a bunch of pissed, one-eyed cats, the effort will always exceed the benefit.
If she’s not bothered to look at my website, chances are we’re not a good fit.
If she wants me to bend over backwards for her, we’re not a good fit (and I only ever do that for someone in the privacy of my own home).
If she, or indeed you think I’m self-important and have ideas above my station…
(you’re absolutely right) but we’re still not a good fit. Frankly, Denise, you’re a time-wasting bastard. Go play email tennis with someone else. I have other things to do like watch Murder, Mystery & Makeup.
So, if you like the sound of the way I do business and if you need some content writing that doesn’t suck, hit the button.