How do you respond when clients ask for services you don’t offer – but they think you do or should?
A colleague asked me this question recently.
It is easy to let this question get under your skin or at the very least, start that little voice of self-doubt in your head chattering. Whether you start wondering if you SHOULD be offering the service or if you get anxious wondering how best to respond, a clear and concise understanding of WHY you are offering the services you do will lead you to the true answer to these questions.
The brand identity crisis
At some point in time, all businesses start to question whether they could or should add more services to their scope of work. It is a natural occurrence – human nature really.
In her book, Teenage Wastebrand, author Evelyn Starr, shares her observations on how brands, just like teens, experience an identity crisis. A time in their lives when they start to question who they are, what they are destined to do, whether their friends are the right friends for them, and why they do or like what they do…. Does this sound familiar? We have all been there. Now think about your brand as it has grown and evolved. Have you wondered if you are doing the right thing? Serving the right people? Offering the right services? Again I bet you are in agreement.
Remember why you offer the services you do
If you find yourself thinking that keeping your clients happy is to offer the services they request – think again. Just because they are asking for it doesn’t mean your business is the best option for your business. You decided it wasn’t in your scope of services for a reason. Revisit your decision-making process. Does it still hold true?
When you stay true to the purpose and the vision of your business, the decision of what services to offer and which to refer to someone or something else becomes apparent. And staying true to this decision is ultimately better for both your clients and your business.
Responding to the requests
Now how are you going to respond to requests for services you don’t offer? Approach the conversation with an understanding that just because this isn’t the right fit now, doesn’t mean you and this potential client won’t get to work together in the future. Acknowledge that their problem is real. As you help them understand your position, include WHY you aren’t offering the service they are requesting. You made the decision not to include this in your scope of services for a reason, share it with them so they recognize it is not about them or their request, it is about your bigger business strategy. If possible, offer them suggestions for others who can be of assistance and be clear on expectations on how and what you are able to do to be of assistance for them now and in the future.
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Teenage Wastebrand, Evelyn Starr
- Teenage Wastebrand on The Marketing Book Podcast
- The Pursuit of Purpose archive