Don’t lead with the disclaimer

‘We don’t do this’ or ‘We don’t win bids on price’ and comments like this are disclaimers, and leading with them is a perfect way to instantly take yourself out of the running for new business.

I got a quote on some basic yard work recently. It was roughly double what my auto mechanic charges, so I asked another team for a quote. Following his introduction, the first words I heard were, “If you’re looking for the cheapest price, we’re not your guys.”

That’s leading with the disclaimer, and it’s also a good way to instantly ward off your best prospects — in particular those people who sought you out.

Why lead with the disclaimer? Providing a rough estimate takes so little time that it can only be called cheap marketing. Maybe you think you’re too busy for marketing. (The truth is you can never be too busy for marketing.)

You may not be the cheapest in town, or you may not win most bids based on price, but that’s not the point. The prospect has no idea why they may select you until they have all the information available. If you start with a disclaimer, you provide them with a good reason to not select you. Your first conversations are for setting tone and seeing if the two of you are a good fit.

Leading with the disclaimer makes assumptions and speaks poorly for your brand. It assumes your new prospect wants something from you that you don’t offer. (You don’t know that.) It also tells them you are predisposed to saying ‘No’ instead of the more preferable ‘Yes.’

Lead with your best foot, and leave the disclaimer for when and if it becomes relevant to the conversation.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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