It has happened to all of us. Some plans—even really good ones—just don’t work out. Have you ever been within an inch of signing a new client or securing a partnership and then, just like that, the opportunity vanished? What happened?

It’s easy to put blame on other party, but have you ever considered that your style of doing business is getting in the way? Or maybe your communication, the way you express things, could be improved? I’ve experienced these types of fallouts before and I was left bewildered. To give you an example, I’ll tell you about the time a legendary photographer agreed to participate in my company’s monthly business call.

It was a real coup to get this photographer and he was a great fit for what I wanted to demonstrate to emerging photography professionals. I was excited and prepared. I had all my questions ready the day before our interview and I did what I always do—I took care of the business side of things and sent him an interview release. Five minutes later, he backed out of participating in the call. It was all over and I was shocked. Where did I go wrong?

I forgot that not everyone is like me. When it comes to doing business, my get-down-to-business, tell-it-like-it-is attitude works for me much of the time, but it clearly doesn’t appeal to everyone. In this situation, I now realize I was pushing the business part of our relationship too much and it hurt the friendly rapport that had developed between us. I had neglected to adjust my communication style and approach to reflect that I was dealing with a true artist whose passion and calling is the need to create through the lens of a camera. He wanted to share his passion in an honest conversation, not in a calculated and predicted interview.

Build Relationships

Some things will work out on the first try. Other things require you to prove yourself over time. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to build relationships. Gaining trust involves allowing others to get to know you, and vice versa. It takes time. In my case, I betrayed the photographer’s trust when I pre-planned our conversation.

Your Next Great Idea

Look honestly at why one of your awesome ideas or plans failed. Was it the way you presented it? Was it the wrong time or the wrong client? What will you do differently next time? This article helps explain how you may be perceived by the people you work alongside. Retreat, rethink, and make sure next time your language and style are appropriate for the person you want to connect with.

Adjusting your communication and attitude with prospective clients and customers can make all the difference in getting new business. And remember—consistency, quality, honesty, and integrity will always pay off over time.

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