There have only been three occasions in our trading history when we have declined work from a potential client.
One was for ethical reasons (“You want us to do WHAT?”). The other two (one of which was last week) were for one simple and important reason:
As the potential supplier in that relationship we were exposed to what we knew would become increasingly hectoring language and behaviour if we signed up to do the work.
It was clear from the client’s tone during the pitch process – “that’s pathetic”, “how flimsy”, “what an outrage”, etc – that it was going to feel unpleasant and that our efforts, at every turn, would be undermined.
A contract is a contract. We trade our services (time is our only commodity) for payment.
Both parties have an expectation and it is in our mutual best interests to have a relationship based on respect and a shared understanding of the objectives and desired outcomes. Being pleasant and supportive in this is hugely important. Business is about mutual benefit and should not be transacted as if it is a food chain.
Which brings me to my suggestion:
Treat your suppliers as if they were your clients.
Why should it be any different? The potential client struck us as the type of General who, in the thick of battle, would turn his guns on his own troops. There are no winners in that game.