Take Me Off Your Waiting List

Today I turned down a potential customer for my lawn service business. Let me tell you how it happened.

I received a web inquiry for a lawn maintenance proposal. I responded and told the potential customer when I would be available to discuss his property. After reviewing the property online I realized that it did not fit our service criteria at this time, but might in the future.

I didn’t want to waste the prospect’s time and immediately advised him that we would not be able to serve him at this time, but I would add him to our waiting list. I wished him well, and thanked him for the opportunity.

The response I received was (paraphrased): Thanks for judging me before looking at my property. My property is not what you think it is. Bad business decision on your part, so you can take me off your waiting list.

Nope. I didn’t need to visit your property in person to determine that we were not a good fit, and I definitely made the right business decision. We don’t work with rude customers either.

Despite my explanation to him, this customer does not understand we are not set up to serve his type of property. He assumes that because we are a lawn service, we must be like every other crappy lawn service he’s ever dealt with (we’re not). Our marketing, website, and communication process all make this clear. But…what we don’t do is pre-filter opportunity. I want them to request proposals even if we’re not a perfect fit because I am building a long-term marketing list of interested people that we can’t serve today but we can serve in the future.

Sometimes they filter themselves out well in advance though.

Accept it. Move on. It took me longer to write this post than to entertain, laugh, and forget his response.