Delusional Customers

I hustle daily.  Do you?

I find clients for my business.  I sell the art that Jason and I (more Jason than I) make.

I encounter many similar people over and over again. They come in the same  flavors of delusion.  There’s always some guy that believes that he’s your meal ticket.

As if we haven’t caught that line before. Our person comes in several varieties:

  • The dude that believes that his exposure will be so great he doesn’t have to pay much.
  • His cousin, the gal that thinks that working on her project is such great shakes that she won’t pay anything.
  • The dude that believes that I’m financially dependent on one sale and can jerk me around.
  • The one that equates sales as begging.
  • The chick that intends to pay with future referrals that she can’t deliver.
  • The dude that mistakes hunger for despair.
  • The dude that thinks I have clumsy sales skills (when it’s really utter indifference to working with you).
Now, let’s think about something. If I’m good enough to get you close to buying, isn’t it fairly likely that I’m good enough to get many others just like you close to buying? Isn’t it likely that many of them will be higher value customers at great companies?
If I’m the co-founder of a company, don’t you think I should have many people that I approach each day?  Don’t you think I am doing this stuff fairly deliberately? What, you think that after I’m done with this sales call, I’m going to hang up the phone and play Angry Birds all day?
All of this is obvious  Clients that think that because we made the initial approach they can dictate everything are clueless. When you generate you don’t
have to tolerate.  It’s self indulgent and stupid, but it’s always fun to say no to a client we approached first. It’s even more fun to piss them off- (but where does that get us.)
Seth Godin has tacitly taught America to take pity on those salespeople that approach first.  Because you know, the customer must initiate and give permission. I like that he does that.  It makes them underestimate me. I have a responsibility to keep good customers away from poor shops.  I might seem ham fisted, but like Columbo, it’s more effective to be underestimated (and not an accident).
Helping people by proposing a solution they didn’t think up can’t wait on their permission.  If Apple waited for us to understand touch computing before they built the Ipod Touch, we’d be in rough shape.
Each Interaction Is Fungible When You Gin Up More

It’s not that I  don’t respect the people I get to talk to, but I certainly don’t live and die with each interaction. I want to improve how I interact, but I don’t care when I lose a client or two. The experimentation is worth it.  I close because it’s what I do, I don’t close because I’m filled with anxiety and despair and need someone to make a living.

And, when I can’t get someone to buy, it’s my way of ending the relationship.  It’s nicer to let them believe it was their idea than mine.  ”Forgetting” to follow up, or saying something meandering and arrogant.  Those are the best ways to get a customer to wander off.  Let them.  Focus on the ones that you love, and forget the ones that you can take or leave.
Finally, the truth is we’re just numbers. I’m just another vendor.  They’re just another customer.  We’re all gonna do the best that we can.  We’ll make a beautiful video, but we can live long and happy lives without each other.  Nobody makes or breaks me. The waiting game is another delusion.  The ideas I have about my customers are probably delusions as well, they are probably doing their work without a second thought to me and what I think.  I could be a vendor, an opportunity, a welcome distraction or a time suck.  All of that is true at various times, for all of us.