in delusion

An Open Letter To All Of The People That Aren’t Going To Be Clients

Dear Mr or Mrs. Client:

Tell me no.

Seriously. You tell me no right now, ok? Great. Now you’re file is closed.

I have work to do, and if you tell me maybe, you’re either wasting our time, or you’re trying to extract free advice from me while we’re both in limboland.

Either way is ugly and unfortunate.

Most of my freelancing friends delude themselves. They believe that every client that doesn’t say no might say yes. They ‘sell’ with the idea that they are here to prevent a no instead of get a yes. Screw that. I want as many  ‘yesses’ as possible. I don’t give a rip about my percentage.

And if you’re not buying (and let’s admit it, you’re not).  Let’s get it in the open. It’s more respectful and easier on both of us.

Friends, let me tell you this: hearing no is a big relief. Seriously. Because then the tension is gone, the variance is off the table, and now I can go find someone to hear yes from.

Because we’re off the hook, we’re no longer pretending. This means we’re not deluding ourselves into believing we have income that’s not coming. You don’t have to pretend you might buy anymore. It’s a win for everyone.

Most importantly, we’re not wasting any more time.

Listen. I know that I jump the gun. I know that I might have closed too soon. You might have been put off by it. I know this. I’ve got some self awareness. We might even pretend – for a moment – that my premature close really was the reason you didn’t buy (it’s not). I’m still fine with that.

This may come as an utter shock to you – and I mean this in the nicest possible way  - but you’re not the only client I’m talking to. My finances aren’t going to be impacted at all by you. Not one bit. Because there are six calls after this one that I’m making and another couple dozen emails that I’m sending. This is what I do.

I’m OK with all of this because for every client that I ‘alienate’ with an overzealous closing finger, there are four more that I find with the extra time freed up by not following up with someone that’s simply being “nice”. (As an aside- why is it ‘nice’ to not respect someone’s time and keep ‘em in limbo).

See, the nastiest thing you can do is lead me on. How would you feel if someone was tried to dangle money in front of you and promise that something might happen?

Look: I have a mild preference for you to be my client. But I know can’t force you. Nobody can  persuade you to do something that wasn’t in the cards. I’m not going to try. I just want an answer. Fair enough?

Now finally: just because you tell me no doesn’t mean I’m going away. You were thinking about buying my stuff once, this means that you might have other reasons that you chose not to reveal that kept it from happening. Again, I’m 100% fine with that. So look, it’s not personal, I’m not desperate. I know that people like you are likely to buy. I’ll call you occasionally. We might become friends. Even if you say no.

Especially if you say no now.

I remain

Very Truly Yours

Chris Johnson

  1. Man, things are good. It’s been (is) a great learning experience and it’s given me a chance to exhale. And I use the word ‘exhale’ because I became one of those deluded freelancers you’ve mentioned. And in the process I became diluted as well. Spot on post, my friend.

  2. Man, things are good. It’s been (is) a great learning experience and it’s given me a chance to exhale. And I use the word ‘exhale’ because I became one of those deluded freelancers you’ve mentioned. And in the process I became diluted as well. Spot on post, my friend.

  3. No BS means getting things done. I like the approach. I hear it’s working pretty well for you too. Congrats.

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