In the course of being a small business service provider, I do a certain degree of networking on LinkedIn. Recently, I struck up a conversation with another small business service provider in my own industry, who was looking to find a new provider for for one of their current clients.
I'm very familiar with the personality quirks that come with some clients, and have worked with a great number of "unique" individuals over the years. It's rare that I've ever "fired" a client, but I'm aware that sometimes it's best for the client, as well as the service provider, to part ways before things get ugly. However, there are certain basic questions to ask before pursuing a potential lead, just to ensure that the issue isn't that of a "deadbeat" client, or of incompatible technology.
By the second or third exchange, it was becoming clear that the issue was a combination of technology challenges and cost; the provider wasn't interested in providing the solution the client was asking for, and the client wasn't interested in paying the rate the provider was wanting, which was apparently far higher than they'd originally been charging the client. This isn't all that uncommon of a scenario, but what came next really floored me.
I'd been contemplating building a relationship with this service provider, to hand off any possible overflow work as IndigoTea grows (we do everything in-house at the moment, but as I wrote in "How to Prep Your Small Business For Business Unusual", it's good to identify "friendly competition" to hire work out to, if it's in the best interests of your client). I was evaluating their attitude towards clients, communication style, and overall attention to keeping business relationships working well. Up to this point, their "concern" for the well-being of their client was admirable, and worthy of respect. Then came the real shocker: "anyways, i'd rather not waste anymore time on the subject" (misspelling included).
I'm all for being to the point, and communicating concisely when the circumstance calls for it. However, one of the last things I would say to a potential business resource is that the conversation that I'm having with them is a waste of time, especially regarding a client. When building business relationships, communication ostensibly to attend to a client's needs is never a waste of time. You can be sure that we won't be exposing our clients to such a cavalier, and unprofessional attitude.