I lost a potential customer this week.
He had contacted me, keen for me to do the copywriting for his business, but after I replied, he explained that:
“Thanks for the really quick reply. I’m really sorry though because we’ve hired another copywriter. It would have been very nice working with you, unfortunately she emailed very quick and her price was good.”
I’m guessing that the opening was probably a little bit sarcastic and he was well within his right to do so.
After receiving the enquiry it took me 28 hours to reply.
That is sucky. I might was well be a bank or a telecommunications company for that kind of service.
Except, that’s not my style. Anyone who’s worked with my in the past, knows I’m pretty quick at getting back on the ole email front, especially enquiries.
But on Friday stuff cropped up, and I was far from firing on all of my Amy cylinders. I sucked at a lot of things that day.
If you’ve ever missed out on an opportunity because of something you did or didn’t do, it can be very hard not to beat yourself up about it. And whilst a few months ago, this email would have seen me moping around mentally for the rest of the day, I saw it as a positive thing.
You have more than 1 shot
If you lose a client, but can still do what you do best, you can get other clients. One customer does not make your business so don’t feel like you or your business is terrible just because you made one mistake. Keep pitching, keep writing, keep working, keep putting yourself out there and working on your skills.
Find the good in it
I’d be lying if I didn’t kick myself after getting that email, but I was really pleased that they’d found a copywriter that they liked. Having someone write your web copy is a personal thing and finding that right person can take time. It’s awesome that they found someone and didn’t waste their time waiting for me – that would have made me feel a lot worse.
Enjoy your free lesson
I am now a whole lot more serious about changing the way things are done around here so that this doesn’t happen again. If anyone can recommend a great VA, please let me know.
Realise your actions bring results
Rather than dwell on what you did wrong, look at all the things you’ve been doing right. When the lost customer emailed to say they weren’t choosing me anymore, he did add that:
“We really like your work.”
Losing a customer because you mess up on the simple stuff one day, is a lot less painful than losing one because you’re not good at what you do.
And if you feel like you’ve messed up because you did something that wasn’t normally in keeping with how you usually are, think about all the times you got good results when you’re on top form.
Nothing is lost
Whether you fail to win a competition, lose out on a possible new customer, fail to get that guest post published, you haven’t actually lost anything if you didn’t have them in the first place.
What you will have is a lesson, and one that will probably stay in your head a lot longer than if you just read it on a blog…
Hi Anne, thanks for your comment!
It’s a fine balance between striving to do the best you can and not beating yourself up too much when you don’t live up to your own standards.
The final lesson I learned with this, is that most people are far more understanding and lovely than I expect to be. In fact, I’m still in touch with Peter and actually featured him in a blog post this week: http://harrisonamy.com/hot-thursday-turning-a-shaky-spot-into-a-selling-point/
Let us know how things go with the blog and ezine! 🙂
Anne O'Connor says
Thanks Amy and Peter. This is just the kind of thing that I’d be kicking myself about if it happened to me. Amy, if you hadn’t shared this we wouldn’t have known what the reasons were behind losing the job. Great story!
Also this is firing me up to get my blog and ezine started
Hey Peter, thanks for stopping by and hope you don’t mind about me using you in this post.
Sorry about the mistake with the sarcasm, I think that had more to do with me saying to myself “You twit Amy, you left it this long and now look what happened!”
Am really pleased you got sorted though and I can understand your excitement in wanting to move quickly.
Best of luck with the site and hope you’ll drop by again in the future 🙂
Peter Ahrens says
Being quite sure I’m the customer you’re talking about, I’d like to say that there was no sarcasm intended in my email. I actually did think you were fast, she was just quicker. Being very excited about getting this done we jumped on it quickly, which is unfortunate for you.
You were one of two copywriters that we were interested in as we really like your work. I actually felt bad that we had to email you back like that. I know that we would have been very happy working with you and super happy with the results.
I was going to write a whole big bit here about other places we have tried emailing for other things but it was getting off topic and long. In summary, most people seem to treat email as though it were some nasty annoyance that needs beating away and then forgetting about. The majority of places we have emailed lately have never even tried getting back to us. A couple emailed back two weeks later.
28 hours in our books is still very, very good. Considering that is one of your bad days I think that just goes to show how good your service is and how much you value your customers.
There is no doubt we will recommend you to others and keep you right at the top of our list when we need copy done next time.
So I think you’re right, there is no need to beat yourself up. We follow you on Twitter, are subscribed to your blog and we love your work. I think this says you are doing a great job and offering a lot of value to people.