I just answered a social media consulting inquiry with this…
No, I’m sorry, that’s not what we really do well. We’re a business, so we’d have to charge you; and we wouldn’t be giving you your money’s worth.
… and I went on to recommend somebody else. The person I recommended as a consultant does do what my inquirer wanted.
I won’t bore you with details, but to me this transaction is a great example of the right attitude about sales. I don’t believe in selling as tricking somebody into buying something other than what they want. Selling is matching wants and needs, figuring out whether what you do is what that person needs or wants, and making a good match.
Jumping on this kind of inquiry with a yes, making a pitch, while hoping to beef up your capabilities midstream, is tempting. But leads to a lot of problems.
Ending up with “we don’t do that” is great for credibility, gives you a chance of future business, avoids the danger of a bad consulting engagement with unhappy clients, and keeps your self and your spirit whole.