Do you, Nina R. Davis, take this client…

Taking on a new client is not a marriage. Neither is any arrangement with a client. You can change your mind. You may ask to alter the terms of the agreement. You can terminate the affair. Or – like with a marriage – you may be better off not getting into it in the first place.

In July 2010 I wrote a post about listening to your gut feeling and turning down a job. The other day I did it again.

A client gave my name to a prospective client, a respectable company. Let's call it Luftgescheft Limited. Another client chimed in and recommended me heartily. So far, so good. I'm deeply grateful to both.

Then Mr. Luft requested a getting-acquainted meeting. Generally, I hate such meetings. They're time consuming and often stressful. I'd much rather conduct my business from the comfort of my desk, via email and the occasional phone-call if absolutely necessary. Let my work and my polite emails speak for themselves. (I only rant and rave when I'm on very comfortable, familiar terms with a client…) But I went. I listened. Nodded. Spoke little. Tried to "get a handle" on the issues at hand. But mostly I was fascinated by Luft's physical and mental attitude. The guy reeked smugness, superiority and superciliousness. His attitude was so disconcerting that it actually got in the way of my absorbing what the company was all about; their "mission", credo, unique selling points, and so on.

So I made sure I had an escape hatch, and said I'm not quite sure I'm the right person for the project, and have to go home and think about it. Luft agreed, and only requested that I give him a "go/no-go" (his words) reply as soon as possible.

I went home and thought about it.
First, I realized that I have nothing to say about the company, and that wracking my brains to come up with good, convincing copy was the last thing on earth I wanted to do.
Secondly, I realized that I'd rather not deal with Mr. Luft at all.

To help me finalize my decision, I carefully read all the printouts I was given, and re-examined the company website. Everything I read confirmed my initial reaction. I could, and would be willing to, do a good job of editing their written material. But I did not want to get involved in writing new stuff. So I wrote a polite email that included an offer to give them names of other professionals, and sent it off.

That was a few days ago.

I would have expected a brief acknowledgement. Just "Thanks for your email", or "Thanks for letting me know", or even a stiff "We are in receipt of yours of the 12th inst." would have been fine. But I got nothing.

That in itself says something, does it not?



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