“You can’t charge me a lot for that.”

When these words came out of a potential client’s mouth, my brain immediately told me this person was not part of my target market.

I don’t recall where my gift basket business was at that point, but I do know it was thriving, which is how this person found me.

My gift baskets were featured on Food Network, morning news shows, and in newspaper articles, and much of how you can achieve the same is uncovered in Gift Basket Marketing, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

This potential client must have found me through one of those promotions. She was the owner of a card and gift shop in a popular city 10 miles from my location. I agreed, during our initial phone call, to meet her in the store.

Not a good match

Gift Basket Marketing, Vol. 1, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.

When I arrived, the woman took me on a quick tour, pointing out products she wanted me to place into gift baskets I’d supply.

When she uttered the “you can’t charge me” phrase, I remember blinking and saying to myself, “I cannot work with this woman.”

It’s important to hear not only what potential clients say but also how they react in terms of body language and voice inflections. You want no surprises when it comes to making money.

Some of your gift basket customers are happy to pay you for value. Others want all of your talent for pennies. When the latter occurs, run, and run fast.

Turning down projects is an easy choice. You want to earn revenue rather than lose money. That’s also true for the potential client, but this fact is more important for you.

When you know that you will not be happy with the project and/or the client, do not agree to work for that person. I know you want to have a client or at least get one order under your belt if you’re new to gift baskets. I’m telling you that the order will haunt you. Decline it, and sleep good that night knowing you made the right choice.

Lesson learned

It was unfortunate that I made gift baskets twice (not once but twice!) for this person. I traveled round trip both times to get her products and deliver the completed designs to her store.

The entire process was a waste of my time and talent. The travel alone was not covered in the second delivery. This experience is why I share it with you as a warning.

  • Trust your gut. If the project isn’t a good fit, decline it.
  • Listening to what people say informs you if this is your target market.
  • Calculate all costs to ensure you’re profiting before agreeing to any project.

I’m not happy to have caved in to this person’s demands, especially since her initial words told me there was no money to be made. Still, we make mistakes in this creative business and hopefully learn from it before a situation is impossible for recovery.

What have potential clients said in the past that warned you to back away from a gift basket project?

Shirley George Frazier
In the gift basket world, all roads lead to Shirley George Frazier, the industry's reigning expert and international authority. Shirley is chief basketologist at Sweet Survival LLC and author of the industry's best-selling books, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, The Gift Basket Design Book, and Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business. Shirley works with manufacturers and retailers to successfully add gift baskets to their current revenue streams. Shirley is also a frequent speaker at events and instructor of the popular online course, Start Your Own Gift Basket Business. Contact Shirley to speak at your event or call 973-279-2799 to schedule a consultation.

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