I remember getting flowers some months ago. I went to a flower shop and asked florist to get me some flowers. She said that at the moment they didn’t have that kind of flowers but he told me to visit an another shop (their competitor) as they might have what I wanted.
I went to the other shop and bought the flowers I needed. Lesson learned? When doing business, it’s your job to help the customer. I had visited the first shop before and this act – helping me to get flowers – made me respect their shop even more.
This same attitude will help you as well. For example, if your players want you to create certain type of game and you have no plans to do that type of game, you can recommend games by some other developers. In this case you lose absolutely no customer, but make them happy as you’ve found a solution for him. If you have a potential customer who cannot pay the price of your product (after you’ve tried to close the deal by making some special arrangements, like split payments) then you could recommend him to try some free software which might help solve his problem to some extent.
The main idea is: If you are absolutely 110% sure that you cannot make a deal with a potential customer then it does no bad for your business if you try to solve their problem without selling your product to them. Maybe they thank you and come back later (if you really have unique product or service) when they are able. And even if they aren’t, at least you get a good feeling about helping somebody.
I’ve always thought that the products and services indies do should be so unique that you can openly tell about your competitors and still show how your product is better than theirs. If your product is not better or unique, then it’s your job to make it better and unique.