Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

This blog has moved to:

Get this widget!
Visit the Widget Gallery

If you'd like to get an update when we post new content, please click here to subscribe via RSS or to subscribe by e-mail.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

When to Say No to a Sale

About ten years ago, a local PR agency decided to subcontract some overload copywriting projects. She asked me if I wanted to try out wrking together. The first assignment she gave me was for a manufacturer of luggage–sounds innocuous enough, right? This was a local company, and I knew that they had a number of DOD contracts to make cases for weapons.

Well, when she sent me their sell sheets, they were so jingoistic and pro-war that they made me sick to even look at them.

I knew the PR agent was overwhelmed and didn’t want to mess her up (especially on the first project)–but after an hour of thinking about it, I realized there was no way I could work on this account–it was too at odds with my values.

So I very apologetically called the PR agency and told her I’d be glad to help her out, but not on this account, and sorry to strand her.

She immediately gave me a different account. I’ve never been sorry I turned that first one down.

OTOH, about a decade earlier, I did some work for Smith & Wesson involving sales materials for their police training program. The material was not rah rah, shooting is good–but emphasized the need for cops to be well-trained before being unleashed on the streets with lethal weapons. I decided that well-trained cops was an agenda I could support, at least to the point of doing this assignment.

In Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, I go on at some length about when to say no to a sale. Discomfort with the politics of the client is a legitimate reason. At the same time, you don’t want to suddenly walk away from a big chunk of your income.

And this works two ways. Although I disagree with the position of making gay marriage illegal, I respect the right of a right-wing fundamentalist to say no to an account promoting gay marriage, for instance. It’s not congruent with their values. (Something I blogged about this idea a year ago, in fact.) I hope we and other activists can eventually change those values–a very hard thing to do and a whole other discussion.


Post a Comment

<< Home