Playing Hard to Get
I was meeting with a friend of mine the other day and catching up. The week prior I had referred someone with a business to her that I thought could help with her current challenges. I was surprised to hear that this person had a good sales call with her and never followed up on the conversation. She jokingly said that maybe my other friend wasn’t that interested and it got me thinking about how often we are told that if we seem too available that people will be less likely to buy from us. This reminded me a lot of those instances when someone tells you that you should wait two weeks to call someone you like. You don’t want to seem desperate by calling back too quickly is the “wisdom” this person imparts. I agree that throwing yourself at a prospect doesn’t put you in a place of power, but I also think there is a danger to closing the sale when you play the game of who calls who first.
Business is a really bad place to play mind games.
If you’re interested in working with someone you should let them know and you should find out if they are interested in working with you. You should also do so in a timely manner. There are many people who think that letting them follow up with you somehow proves that they really want the service, but there are some people who are not going to play that game. They expect you to follow up with them and they expect you to let them know you want this sale. When we start out in a business it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of scarcity because it’s powerful as a sales tool, but it’s only powerful if there is actual scarcity. If you truly only have enough room for three clients this month that’s one thing, if you are pretending that you only one slot left and you don’t have one client left that’s another.
When I first began producing I worked with a young actor who was starring in a production of a show. He blasted his email list that the show was “selling out like crazy” and that everyone better buy their tickets right away or they’d miss out. Meanwhile we had 3 tickets sold in a 75 seat house. Most of the run our houses were tiny and those who did come felt duped. You never want your clients to feel that way. Be honest about what your interest is, be honest about what your capacity is, and you’ll gain a lot of respect. Paint a picture of something that isn’t true and you’ll be considered someone who people don’t trust. If you get that kind of reputation, it’s really hard to come back from it. Here are some of my rules for straightforward relationships with customers:
- If someone asks for more info, I always send it quickly after the meeting – If I can send the info right away after them meeting I do that. If not, I try and get it to them the next time I am at my computer. The one exception I make in this is if it is a more involved thing like a proposal, I usually give myself a couple of days to do that.
- I choose and stick to capacity – If I say I’m only going to take five people in a program, then I start a wait list when I hit five. If something does not sell as well as I would like, I give those who did pay so much value and personal attention they feel like they got a better deal.
- I do everything in my power to only work with people who are great – If I don’t feel like I am the best fit for the person talking to me about my services or one of my classes, I suggest someone else. If I feel I am not the best fit while having a meeting, I don’t even offer my services. Life is too short to work with people who drain me instead of feed me.
You’ll notice that there are no mind games in any of the rules above. I’m not testing to see if my clients are “into me” because, if they are, I’ll know it. I don’t need additional proof.
Take a look at your own process and ask if you are playing hard to get.
Is it helping or hurting?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
I know which camp I’m in.
How about you?