men discussing options and business numbers

The Deal Breaker

It may seem as though you have a done deal that is sure to be completed. Even when it may seem as though all documents are ready to be signed there is no real deal, until the contract is signed, sealed and delivered. You may have had a promising conversation with a capable business prospect, but can you be certain that all of the items of consideration were equally understood? During a high-spirited discussion both parties may state many seemingly relevant details as possible to get their point across. While making the big sales pitch one may not hear the reply or rebuttal, or the sale presentation simultaneously being promoted by the other party.

After some perceived understanding of the potential to partner, it is jointly decided that a meeting should be arranged. Both attendees have their fixed perspective on how the meeting should unfold. During the meeting, however, different ideas seem to surface, other than those thought to have been originally presented during the telephone communication. It could be the wrong person shows up for the meeting; not being the initial party with whom one spoke or an expected party is conveniently available to attend.

Whatever you decide, be sure that you are professional in your demeanour and cordial by way of reply. If you decide to conduct / participate in the conference you should be sure to have a pen, a notebook and business cares, and above all else – dress to impress. Your image should always demonstrate that you are deserving of respect, irrelevant of what the other party may decide for the deal.

During the meeting be sure to focus the discussion to resemble, however, modestly, the initial telephone conversation, which preceded it. If you are concerned that an expected party is not in attendance, express your dismay immediately, at the onset of the conference. Request, if possible and practicable that this so called promised participant be summoned to appear.

Be sure your ideas are considered and fully listened to by the parties in attendance. Also be sure you listen intently to the ideas presented by the other party. If not offered, politely request a business card from the other people at the meeting or ask them to e-mail you their Vcard.

If during the conversation topics are discussed that do not parallel the original phone conversation, then you should ask for clarification about the actual real intention for the meeting. Is there a hidden agenda? Will there be an unexpected sales pitch or some attempt to run a deceptive scam. While you may feel slighted if the meeting doe not turn out as initially planned, nevertheless you need to continue to seem professional throughout the consultation. If you don’t want to appear as being impolite during the meeting you can later send a follow-up e-mail to request clarification on the next step and as way of summarizing the specific goals of the conference. You can state you believe to be the next step in the process towards the growth of the business relationship, based on details of the meeting.

If the other party has different or varied goals, than those that you had relied upon to agree to attend the meeting, then he / she will clearly state the same in his / her reply to your correspondence. If it is not obvious that there is not a ‘meeting of the minds’, then you can just chalk this experience up to a lesson learnt. Perhaps this knowledge will help you realize that you should be more thorough during your preliminary discussions.

calendar displaying the months and days above work desk

Business Date

 Did you ever have a business date? If you are in any type of business, then every initial communication with a prospective client / customer should be treated as a date. Your correspondence should not be composed to oversell your image. Instead, you will fair best if you humbly present a confident yet modest business presence.

Those professionals who are surely capable do not even need to sell themselves. Usually their reputation in their industry is well known and leads are sent to them from colleagues. Likewise, potential clients / customers will likely know about the industry leaders from highly acclaimed work / projects.

Pricing one’s product / service is a bit of a conundrum. One does not want to price oneself to low, so as to seem incompetent of completing the work for which one is advertising one’s services. Conversely, one does not want to overprice oneself and be underbid by competitors. How can one function in this type of situation?  Perhaps one should inquire with one’s competitors to determine the set market-price for the same service. But certainly, during an initial business communication, whether by e-mail or by phone, one should be sure to not state a set price for one’s work. Rather the initial focus should be on one’s abilities and capabilities to offer the highest quality of work for the project sought.

When a potential client / customer requests prices for services one can professionally reply by sending forward a document known as Fee Schedule. This document will contain a price list for many services, including the specific one inquired about by the potential client / customer. This back and forth communicative process establishes a relationship between oneself and the potential client / customer through a seeming dialogue.

One will need to decide if one should follow-up and also when to do so for an effective result. Not every inquiry is necessarily worth pursuing. One should evaluate the value of the project and by due diligence determine if the potential client / customer can pay one’s fee. Otherwise, one may end up spending valuable time trying to sell a prospective client that will not be able to pay the value of one’s time, even if the said client does pay the set costs of one’s services. One should take stock and consider that even the time spent in communication and following-up with a prospective client is taking away from time that one could actually be working.

If one is able to determine that a prospective client presents as worthy of one’s efforts, then one should be professional in one’s approach. One should let the potential client know of one’s intentions to follow-up on a set day, and at a set time, and request confirmation / permission for so doing. One must be meticulous to do just as one says throughout the sales cycle process. One must call exactly at the time one has promised and one must be sure to have a note pad or computer device handy for taking scrupulous notes of the clients’ requirements for the work to be completed. One should talk less and listen more. This is utmost importance. It is best to let prospective clients sell themselves on one’s services.

I once read article that offered the following advice, which I believe should be applied to most business matters: “Instead of walking into the meeting demanding a higher salary, ask how you can contribute more to the company”.  Perhaps this advice applies across the board for all situations. One should be sure that one can do the best job possible and complete the assigned project / work at the highest professional standard – and market oneself as being capable of doing – thereafter one can set one’s fee for service.

Feed Shark

man walking with business bag

Regardless of whatever business you are in you need to have a strategy for success. The first call or initial consultation, with a client, sets the stage for every other future communication, since it is the first impression and these count a hundredfold.

You want to dazzle your potential client with your knowledge of your industry and paint a mental image in your potential client’s mind that portrays you as an expert in your field. But offering too much information can be counterproductive.

Instead you want to present your abilities in a good light. Keep the conversation short and to the point. Ask for a retainer or a consultation fee before the end of the telephone call. Yes, be bold be proud and make sure that your effectively communicate that your expertise has a value.

If you demonstrate your worth through seeming to be a professional in your industry during the initial consultation, then this image will remain in the mind of your client for the duration of your working relationship.

Be clear on your capabilities. Be confident in your skills. Be sure of your ability to deliver superior results. Set a timeline for completion that will certainly meet or exceed.


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