The Dreaded "I Don't Know You," - How To Overcome?

24 replies
Hi,

Met with my first client (it's actually my second, the first just gave me a check) today.

The appointment went well but when I asked him for a deposit he says, "I've been burned before, you're a guy who just called me, I don't know you and I don't pay until I see what you can do for me."

What he wants me to do is set up a basic site that shows him what I can do for him then if he likes and things go well he will give me a deposit or the whole shebang.

I know I should do this just to show good faith and I want to earn his business..

But, how do you overcome this objection when you're closing the deal?

Here's the website he wants me to base his off of (he basically wants me to copy it as this is his supplier):

http://www.lb-laser.com

Thanks,

South Bay Bones
#dreaded #i dont know you #overcome
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post

    Hi,

    Met with my first client (it's actually my second, the first just gave me a check) today.

    The appointment went well but when I asked him for a deposit he says, "I've been burned before, you're a guy who just called me, I don't know you and I don't pay until I see what you can do for me."

    What he wants me to do is set up a basic site that shows him what I can do for him then if he likes and things go well he will give me a deposit or the whole shebang.

    I know I should do this just to show good faith and I want to earn his business..

    But, how do you overcome this objection when you're closing the deal?

    Here's the website he wants me to base his off of (he basically wants me to copy it as this is his supplier):

    http://www.lb-laser.com

    Thanks,

    South Bay Bones
    If he's so far off that he's afraid of getting burned for a few hundred dollars... then he has bigger issues than not knowing you. To me it sounds like he wasnt "sold"...

    I would just move on... otherwise I'd say "well, I'll tell why you can trust me... because $500 aint enough to make it worth looking over my shoulder ... Its not an amount that is gonna make or break my business or my life... If I was gonna take the money and run I'd be asking you for 100k right now... "

    You have to go in and make the money an afterthought like its no big deal... if you act like its a big thing, then they will too..."

    Now if you put on a decent presentation...(discussion)...and you pull that off casually and act like the money's no big deal (even though you EXPECT it) and the guy still says no... he's a broke ****.


    Personally, I try to give off the attitude that I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business, but absolutley dont jump through hoops... it sets the wrong precedent.

    Last resort, say; "Look I dont know you either, I could do all this work and you could be wasting my time too. We are both in the same boat trying to build businesses here, so I understand...I'll you what why dont we meet halfway", and get a small dp from him.

    Sometimes you just have to let it go though. If you are prospect rich, then there's more where he came from.
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    • Profile picture of the author grin
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Personally, I try to give off the attitude that I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business, but absolutley dont jump through hoops... it sets the wrong precedent.
      Wow I could not agree MORE about that. It's also just like any gimmick, if you do it once they will keep expecting it.

      I take solice in the feeling that I am in DEMAND. When I did my first two jobs, I was literally begging. I could hardly not sound or feel like that. Even if I was keeping a cool look - I was jumping at the first chance for money. End result is yes I jumped a hoop or two.

      Once you do not have the sense of urgency, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. The next couple jobs I was not swimming in cash, but I really did not want to keep running and jumping at every command. I had conditions to be met, and if they don't get met, I would just rather go find the next person. No harm and no bad feelings.

      Now, having said that - putting a five page WP "example" site could be done real quick. Or maybe you already have another site. I would suggest trusting your "portfolio" and if they are wanting to see how "committed" you are it might not be a great idea.

      Just remembered a sales call I had in 2001. It was about Flash animation and interactivity. I showed up, we did the rapport building, we went over some of my history and qualifications. THEN, I showed him three very elaborate things I had done recently - and at the end of all that what happened? He wanted me to "SHOW ME WHAT YOU CAN DO" and design something for him for free.

      Now, I believe in keeping solid relations with solid people. So I told him I would get that to him as soon as I could think of something to impress him. That was in 2001 and its now 2011 and I have not thought of anything that could impress him - so oh well. He also went out of business I believe around 2004.

      On the other hand, some people really tickle me the right way. Usually while I am excited to work with them and I have some ideas, I will whip something up and show them a composition of sorts, and that is usually the final hammer that gets the contract signed.

      So basically if I would bottom line this - go with your gut and how well did the two of you get along.
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    I've done complete design mock-ups for potential clients, which they were suppose to close at $3k and they never did. Waste of my time. Waste of my designers time.

    I'll all for doing a little free work, but get a contract signed. No one should work for free without being a little safe-guarded to ensure payment.

    You can ask him: "The products you sell, can I have one...? I'm not sure it will do what you say it will do and I've been burned too many times with similar products claiming to do the same thing your product does."

    What do you think he will say? If anything, it will make him think for a minute.

    In the end, it's always about deal-making. But know when to walk away. There are plenty of other companies who KNOW about the internet and NEED services you offer... go get them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Creativegirl
    Good advice, most of us with any experience around the block would move on. It's really up to you, though if you want to invest any time up front. We don't touch web design without a signed contract and deposit no matter how many times they say they've been burned.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by Creativegirl View Post

      Good advice, most of us with any experience around the block would move on. It's really up to you, though if you want to invest any time up front. We don't touch web design without a signed contract and deposit no matter how many times they say they've been burned.
      You have to choose your battles... if you dont get any indications that its worth your time walk away... if you can save the sale with a 60 second callback... then do it.

      Maybe just call and check up and say "Just wondering if you folks got any other estimates or how thats going for you...".

      Dont give anything more energy than it deserves, but if you feel that a situation could still work, invest whatever amount of time is reasonable for you to pursue the possibility, and no more than that, with all due honor and respect for yourself and your work.

      You kind of develop senses about it after awhile as to whats worth your time to pursue or not after you have identified the different "types" of prospects, you can see em comin a little better...
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      • Profile picture of the author wbinst2
        He can say what he likes. You're the one seeking his business and his money. If you don't like his conditions, move on. Why try to debate it or give reasons?
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        • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
          Originally Posted by wbinst2 View Post

          He can say what he likes. You're the one seeking his business and his money. If you don't like his conditions, move on. Why try to debate it or give reasons?
          This is the big problem.

          People have a system for selling. People also have a system for buying. This can sometimes be called the "buyer seller dance".

          If you are aware of the crap that the buying system can cause then you can build a system where you are in control all the way through.

          If you have an ideal client profile that the person does not fit into then they are disqualified from working with you.

          DO NOT ... get stuck in their buying system. You'll get chewed up and spat out.
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  • Profile picture of the author roypreece
    Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post


    What he wants me to do is set up a basic site that shows him what I can do for him then if he likes and things go well he will give me a deposit or the whole shebang.
    "If he likes and things go well..." They almost NEVER do go well with this type of client.

    Remember, you don't know him either. He wants you to work for him and then he'll decide whether or not to pay you.

    Don't.
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    • Profile picture of the author tjbooker
      One of my managers way back when told me something I never forgot (sales). "you never act or assume your client make less than you or worth less than you, but never let them talk down to you either". My suggestion is go find someone else to sell to, he already sounds like he going to be high maintenance. Go sell to his competitor

      Tj
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    • Profile picture of the author plmitchell
      Totally agree. This guy is taking advantage of your obvious hunger for the job. If he thinks that he can remove the risk from his business he is dreaming. Move on find more reasonable people to deal with. If he is like this at the beginning image what he'll be like through the job and at the end.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    So this was posted over a month ago, What was the end result?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacob Hargreave
    Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post


    I know I should do this just to show good faith and I want to earn his business..

    But, how do you overcome this objection when you're closing the deal?
    An approach you might want to start applying in the near future is the interview approach. While the methods are uninvolved I assure you most people will need to practice it often.

    After reading your post I gather you are a website developer or sell a website development product of sorts. First I would recommend a portfolio of your services from an entrepreneurial view. A portfolio is just like having testimonials for your product or service. Instant credibility, professionalism and prowess. I can affirm this will help cease undesired responses.

    The interview approach is simply keeping the conversation flow in your control. Ask questions based upon the client's needs and never deviate from this. A client that asks the majority of the questions is more likely to walk away from your services because it allows them to erect an archive of excuses.

    While probing your client you are not only eliminating and preventing any potential issues they may or may not have. You are also assuring them that you have the provisions to accommodate them which will usually lead to a sale 90% of the time.
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    Jacob Hargreave at your service...

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  • Profile picture of the author southbaybones
    I let him go. Wasn't worth my time
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post

      I let him go. Wasn't worth my time
      Smart decision.

      If they don't trust you, then chances are they aren't trust worthy themselves. What I find to be the case MOST of the time is when a developer or designer ran off from them before, it was probably someone underpaid doing sidejobs for people, and they were a high maintenance client. I charge my needy clients a premium.

      Most of the time you won't need to worry about this if you have confidence.. When you have a high price make sure you tell your customer in confidence, if you act like it is normal, then they will feel better about it.

      You will still get bums that claim they don't pay for anything until they see the finished product. I don't waste time with them, and I don't spend time chasing clients that can't make up their mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author Warrior AllStars
      Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post

      I let him go. Wasn't worth my time

      You can easily spend more time worrying over one lead than it would take you to set 5, and maybe even make a sale... One issue I have seen ALOT is people getting hung up on "maybe's", and stopping production... which creates breaks in the pipeline, then when the maybe's fall through they are all dressed up and no place to go.

      As granny always said "A bird in hand is better than two in a bush".
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    • Profile picture of the author Wyteria Jacobo
      Originally Posted by southbaybones View Post

      I let him go. Wasn't worth my time
      Good for you. I've almost fallen for those kind of crappy excuses, too. Then I had to remind myself that I did not get into offline consulting to be walked on like a doormat.

      Keep your head up. There's better fish in the sea.
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      • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
        Originally Posted by Wyteria Jacobo View Post

        Good for you. I've almost fallen for those kind of crappy excuses, too. Then I had to remind myself that I did not get into offline consulting to be walked on like a doormat.

        Keep your head up. There's better fish in the sea.
        The general rule that helps you get your mind right is that "all buyers are liars".

        If you assume this, then it helps you ask better questions to make sure people qualify to work with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    I'm in the RAS end of this biz. When I build a 1 page site I
    put it up on domain.com/johnsmith. When I get paid I just
    change it to .index to make it live.

    Hugh
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    "Never make someone a priority in your life who makes you an option in theirs." Anon.
    "Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon." -- Winston Churchill

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  • Profile picture of the author cchipster
    Collect 50% down or walk. Sounds fishy to me. Every business owner knows that it is COMMON in any service related biz to put something down to start and is more THAN LESS 50%!!

    Stay strong and stick to oyur guns...or walk!!
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    No signature, I'm sure you will be ok.
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    • Profile picture of the author MarthaD.
      Forget him & move on - there's an old saying in sales: "Buyers are liars!" The fact he brings up a trust issue would make me feel very guarded about trusting him - not the way to build a good relationship. The more work and bending you do for this type of a customer, the more you'll regret "convincing" them to buy! Usually ends up as a "no-win" situation for either party to say nothing of what they may do to your time, energy, and "reputation"!
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      MarthaD.

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  • Profile picture of the author dmramirez
    He might just be looking for a free ride. A lot of small business owners pull the whole "put your money where your mouth is" line.

    We always say, "(customer), if you go to the supermarket and you buy a 60 inch tv, do you tell the clerk 'I'm going to take this tv and see if it REALLY enhances my viewing experience'?"

    If you've done your job to build rapport, the client will say, "no."

    We respond, "Then why are you asking me to give you my product when you have no vested interest in it?"

    If they balk from there, you need to build value in your product. If you have any kind of guarantee, lean on it! The risk of him asking for his money back is far lesser than the risk of him not paying you at all just because he doesn't understand the value of your service.
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  • Profile picture of the author danielkanuck
    Gotta be weary of those clients who wants something done for free. Do you have any mock websites that you can show to him that will prove your work?

    I tried to do some consulting work for this bakery, and she wanted to try me out for a month, and then decide on whether or not she should hire me. Even with all the past work i've done for other people, she still wasn't convinced. I decided not to even bother with this woman because she just wanted a free ride. Sounds like the potential client you have on your hands now.

    Don't do it bro. Get paid in your advance for your services.
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