A fellow designer (and quite amazing might I add) asked a GREAT question in a design group and I thought it would be an interesting topic for discussion today. She asked:How do I break up with a lead? After having a conversation with them I just don’t feel like we’re a good match. I’m wondering how I nicely convey that to them without making them feel unwanted.
Although we all wish we could take on every inquiry…it’s just not a reality. We need to create a balance between good opportunities, inspiring opportunities, & money making opportunities to keep us inspired & push our business forward. But sometimes we get too far into a conversation or design lead… just to realize it’s not going to work. Maybe we’re just not inspired for it, it’s out of our technical abilities, or it’s too time intensive for our current schedule, etc. For whatever reason it is… my advice would be to keep the clients BEST INTEREST in mind. Because let’s be real, if you were the client you would NOT want someone taking on your project if they didn’t want to do it, weren’t passionate about it, or weren’t skilled enough for the job.
So, I’ll share the way I handle this situation and then I would love to hear how you handle it. Here it goes:
I take whatever it is that isn’t a good match, spin it in a positive light (considering I have their best interest in mind) and then suggest someone else for the job. For example: Let’s say the client needs and wants a clean corporate design… and personally, I am skilled and passionate about working with artsy/creative clients not corporate clients. This is what the response *could* look like:
“It was great talking with you and finding out more about your business. I agree with you that a straightforward corporate design is the best way to go for the direction you are heading. Unfortunately corporate design is not a focus of expertise in my business right now and therefore I don’t believe I would be the best fit for the job. I do know of some people that are KILLING it in corporate design and I can give you their contact info if you are interested!! I am really excited to see where your business takes you in 2012…yada yada”
I believe it’s important to say that you are not the best fit for “the job” as opposed to “not the best fit for YOU”. That makes it less personal and keeps it focused on the project.
So what about you? How do you handle breaking up with a lead? And what are your thoughts in response to this approach?