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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Turning Down Potential Clients

Having the business at home has its perks. I get to work on my pajamas. I can watch TV while working. During down times, I can multitask. I can even work at nights when I don't feel like working during the days. I love working from home.

Unfortunately, there are times when you miss the camaraderie. Sure, you get to be close with your clients that they eventually become your friends. But it's not the same as the office / company setting. You don't get to have office parties, organized by co-workers.

Another annoying thing with working from home is the disturbance. Since clients know you work at home, they get to call you all the time, even disregarding the time.

I got a call at 10:00 pm on a Sunday, asking about my service. I told the caller, it's Sunday and I don't have office on Sunday. Aside from that, it's late. He got taken aback and backfired, "how can you get a client if you don't entertain them?". I told him, "I'm sorry, but most of my clients know that Sunday is a family day. No business calls then."

But business was more in my mind so I answered his inquiry. I already know he's not going to be a lead since, apparently for him, I rudely answered his question.

Now, I'm not one to turn down potential clients. Of course, I wanted to make a sale. But I guess, one out of 10 is fine. I would rather have clients that clearly knows boundaries, than one annoying clients. I can see we're not going to get along. Demanding every minute of my time for ridiculously outrageous tasks. (that's how I see him).

Again, I like working from and at home, but getting a call in the middle of the night and talk about business, is not something I wanted.

So in order to minimize "rude" business conversations and get that office-setting feeling, I had considered this:
  • Set office hours: if it's 9-5, make sure it's 9-5.
  • Get another phone line: If you can afford it, get another phone number specifically for business. Get a prepaid SIM Card and use it for business.
  • Don't entertain business calls at night. Talk to your clients. I'm sure they'll understand that once the office hours is up, no more calls unless it is an emergency (which usually isn't).
  • To get that office feeling, arrange your work space, as if you really are in an office. I can't concentrate when there's clutter, so I try to keep my workstation or office table tidy.
  • Get rid of distractions. When at work, don't watch TV. Work is work. (I should take this advice)
I don't like turning down clients, but that's not rudeness. When you know you can't really do the task, might as well be upfront about it. Clients, like you, are business people too. Rather than break your promise and compromise the quality of your work, turn down the potential client. They will understand. They may not like it, but they will understand.

Update:  Now, I currently have an online shop, and time is more demanding when it's retail and online.  I have to admit, I'm getting really overwhelmed.  I guess, tips you can do are:
  • Set time to answer all inquiry.  Like any other, it's a matter of time management, but be sure to answer all - including the bad ones.
  • Formulate "Terms and Conditions", Shipping and the likes.  If you can't make one, find one.
  • Since the shop is 24-7 (because of it's nature), I just make sure that I answer inquiries within 24 hours.  If I can't, I post it in statuses.

This Article was originally posted in Yahoo! Voices.  Sadly, Yahoo Voices will soon call it quits and close.

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