When I receive a request from a potential client that does not fit with my business, I try to not give them a plain “no” as an answer. Instead, I always look who else can help them with their request. I do that partly because I don’t like disappointing people, but also because I know it will come back to me in a positive way somehow in the future. This potentially turns people into ambassadors that tell others about what I do.

When the CEO of a client company did his opening speech for an alliance masterclass last year, his talk was music to my ears. He emphasized to his team why it was important to leave every partner, employee or job candidate with a good feeling. Even if they did not become an alliance partner or get the job. He explained that if they weren’t right for the company now, they might be right for the company in the future, in another alliance project or job opening. It would also potentially turn people into ambassadors for the company.

When we talk about alliance exits we purposefully use the term “graceful exit”. When you exit an alliance, or people leave your company, when you decline a client or a candidate, there will always be the chance that in a future opportunity you might be right for each other again. Keep it graceful, it is better to leave them as a friend rather than as a foe.

Are you creating ambassadors in your work?