“Entrepreneur’s disease” is the state of mind that shouts ‘close every sale, no matter what.’
It’s such a tempting proposition, and often one accepts less money or heaps on more value to make it happen. All to often, we regret it later. You’ve given away so much, the client believes they can continue to ask for anything, even beyond what is agreed to. You have painted your company as desperate, such behavior is to be expected.
Other times, your company provides ‘more and better’ than a particular client really needs. In that scenario, they are not necessarily offering less than you are worth; they are offering what is market value for their needs.
Recently, I recalled a client that managed High School Reunions. This type of event management company was new, 20 or so years ago, and provided a turn-key service and virtually no risk to a reunion class committee. My old company, Designer Music, provided DJ service for them about 15-20 times, annually, over a 3-4 year period.
We had agreed on a discounted price, due to the number of jobs per year. The events were somewhat uninteresting for my DJs, but not stressful at all because the events were formulaic and well-run by the event company. They were always on a Saturday evening and were a nice change from weddings.
Early one year, I noticed that I had not received the usual phone call to start penciling in dates for the coming years’ reunions… so I picked up the phone. After a short conversation with the event manager, I wound up on the phone with the owner. He explained that they had found another company, willing to work the reunions for $25 less per job.
I paused and said, “I’m curious.. we’ve worked over 50 events with you, in a period of more than three years and never received a complaint. Did I miss something?
He said, “No, I just have an opportunity to save $25 per event. If you’d be willing to meet that price, I’d be happy to continue working with you.”
I thought for a moment and said, “Usually, after working 50 jobs, flawlessly, that’s a good time to offer us a raise, not jam us with a fee cut.”
At that precise moment, a couple of things occurred to me…
- At best, I thought it was rude to solicit/accept a deal with another company without so much as a phone call, offering the price-match opportunity.
- The reunion company didn’t need the quality of service and disc jockey that my company provided. Through their efficiency, there were probably any number of companies that could get the job done.
With as much courtesy as I could muster, I said,
“I appreciate the price-match offer, but if you are willing to take a risk on a different company, I’m sure you feel they can do the work, well enough. We have been at a significant price reduction for a while, and I’m not comfortable accepting another $25 reduction. I wish you the best of luck with your new DJ service. I understand that this is just a business/financial decision. But, if something changes, please don’t hesitate to call.”
By the stunned silence on the phone, I would guess he was surprised that I didn’t agree to the ‘new deal’.
Though I was irked that I had to call to discuss the matter, it wasn’t hard to figure out that my company was more than they needed. I believed I could make up the revenue, and then some, and have my company’s self-respect intact.
I always looked for clients that felt like a ‘good fit’ for the level of service and quality we provided. It can be harder to make that call, when it involves 15-20 bookings a year. I didn’t always get it right, but that time I did. I was able to fill the sudden void with superior jobs, both in revenue and DJ enjoyment.
- Do you suffer from entrepreneur’s disease?
- Do you compromise when indicators suggest ‘taking a pass’?
Your comments are encouraged!!
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