Let Me Look Into That
It’s a phrase I’m trying to say less and less. It tells me that I don’t have a definitive answer, that I need to research it. But if I know my business well enough, I think I should know almost immediately if something is possible or not. Maybe the bigger question is whether or not I should be “looking into that” for my client. Here are some alternative responses to the question of whether I can do XYZ or ABC:
- No, that’s just not possible with the current configuration.
- No, sorry, the software just doesn’t do that.
- Yes, we could do that, but it would break DEF and GHI, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Yes, it’s possible, but it’s out of the scope of this project. Let’s talk about it again during Phase 2.
- Yes, it’s possible, but I’ll need to bring in an external development team.
- Yes, it’s possible and it’ll cost $x,xxx.
- Yes, we can do that.
But if I’m not sure about XYZ or ABC or I haven’t come across it before then I can’t imagine that it is really necessary. I know my business pretty well. In the past, I have spent countless hours “looking into that” only to come back, say that it maybe could work, not really knowing how to bill for it, doing a half-ass job to get it to kinda work, and then have the client say that they don’t really need or want that feature anyway.
The math is pretty easy: countless hours X $0/hour = $0.
Clients can handle the “No” word better than we assume. “No, that’s not possible.” The response is often, “Oh, really? Hmm, oh well, just curious.” Done, end of story. My business partner reminded me just this morning (after I weirdly joyously showed him a project I turned away) of the time I saved by turning the project away. He’s right. The old me would have talked even longer with the prospect (as it was, it ended up being only a 5-minute call), I would have researched the topic to death, certainly going off on a dozen tangents along the way, come back to the client with something of an answer only to then be in a pool of several other possible vendors, and maybe the good (?) news would have been that I landed the job. The job I wasn’t sure I knew how to do. Great strategy .
Just say no.
It really is quite a magical little power. “Can’t do that. Nope, not me. Uh uh. Nee. Nooohhoo way! Nuh uh. Sorry, that’d be a negative. Uh, no. No can do.”