Spotting prospects who don’t value your work

Doing what you love for a living has just about an unlimited list of benefits. That doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and rainbows when you’re working to generate revenue for your company. There are struggles and obstacles with any form of work and one of the most common we see with businesses offering any services is the ability to quickly identify a prospect or client that values what they bring to the table.

In the business of providing a service (any service) your time is very valuable – more so than a business selling a line of products. The revenue generated from any one sale for a product based company (large or small) does not have a direct correlation to the amount of time the business will have to invest to complete said sale. When you’re selling a service it’s easier to recognize the direct and literal relationship of time equals money. If you’re spending valuable time on prospects and clients that don’t value what you bring to the table (whether they end up being a paying client or not) you’re sacrificing your most precious resource that could be spent with clients that do value your work and enable your business to thrive.

 Sometimes searching for clients that value your business can feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Sometimes searching for clients that value your business can feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

While there are many ways to identify a prospect or client that does not value your service we’re focusing on one of the easiest ways in this piece. You already invested time in reading this piece to find out the answer so we’ll cut to the chase and save the ceremonious introductions.

Prospects that do not value your profession will belittle the work they’re asking you to execute.

The best way to explain this in detail is to provide a few quick examples that should easily resonate with you if you have ever heard something similar.

 “My bike needs a tune-up, could you take a quick look and tighten things up?”

“We need a centerpiece made for each table at the ceremony – could you throw something together?”

We’re needing some photography done at our next event – would you be able to come and snap some pictures?”

“Can you glance at my tax returns and see where I may have missed something?”

“We need a flyer designed – something beautiful that communicates our mission but you don’t have to spend much time on it.”

“We’re looking for some ideas for the building design – could you crank out some basic ideas?”

“I’d like for you to repaint the second floor, it should be a pretty quick task.”

These statements seem harmless on their face to the untrained audience as they're often disguised in politeness – but if you can start to listen for the cues closely you’ll be culling through business "opportunities" like a pro in no time. These inquiries for work to be performed are almost always made by someone who does not value your particular line of work and believes that it will be a near effortless for you to complete. They also rarely value the training you've completed to perform the work and the price of the equipment involved to produce what they're looking for. More often than not, these requests with disguised devaluations often come from someone who has no clue how to perform the tasks required and doesn’t understand the amount of skill needed to complete the work. Their conscious goal is to create a sense of ease and effortlessness for you to complete the requested work in an effort to get the work complete for free, or at least a good discount to what should be charged.

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If you’re ever come across a prospect giving off a heavy set of signals like this – run for the hills or be prepared to discuss in detail the expectations for both parties. Your time is better spent in the long run searching for more valuable clients or networking with others to find the best group of customers that value what your company specializes in. In the even that you already have a customer on board that started out like one of the scenarios above you'll probably be able to testify that they're some of your most time consuming clients with little to no return for the bottom line of your business.

Do you have some good real life examples of this happening in your business? Share your stories below and let us know how you handled it.