Nip nightmare clients in the bud

A while ago, I had the opportunity to work with someone I admired. A mutual acquaintance had given me an introduction. I was encouraged to let them know how I could help them. To make a great impression, I crafted the best email of my life. I must’ve spent the best part of 12 hours writing this email.

I scheduled the email to go out at 8 am to not come across as a maniac when I had finished writing the email at 3 am. At no point did I think what I had done was overboard. I wanted this guy to know how serious I was. I had told the story of my creative approach, and value I would realise for him. Honestly, I had never been prouder of something I had written. In my mind, it was a done deal.

Scoring this work would be phenomenal, and I was sure I had it in the bag. Lo and behold, as is the case with email, I heard nothing back for 48 hours.

When I did finally get a response, my heart sank.

The reply I got was so unexpected that I burst out laughing. I couldn’t believe it. In turns out that I had wasted my time was entirely rational. The response I got was (paraphrasing): “Charles, I don’t appreciate being sent a copy and pasted email”.

There was no coming back from it. I was in a lose/lose situation. How am I supposed to convince him that it isn’t a pre-written email? And with a response like that, what’s the point in even trying? It seemed like they’re not going to backpedal on their false accusation.

They eventually came round after a little intervention from our mutual acquaintance. However, they never acknowledged the fact they called me out on sending a cookie-cutter email. Long story short, I decided not to work with them. My asshole spidey-senses were tingling.

Three valuable lessons I learned from this encounter:

  • Don’t spend all night on an email
  • Don’t justify yourself to assholes
  • Don’t put people on a pedestal