If you’ve been online (basically, AT ALL), you’ve probably read countless posts from business owners asking advice, in every Facebook group known to mankind, about finding the right clients for their business.
As our economy moves to connection based brands and services, more and more business owners are beginning to understand the true value of identifying and connecting with their ideal client base and how that can make all the difference in whether a modern business succeeds in it’s industry or falls short and disappears from the eye of social media forever.
At a basic level, the right client is obviously someone who values what you do and has the bank required to pay your prices without haggling or offering you “exposure” instead of money for your services.
But the right client is more than just a lucrative opportunity to pay your bills and grow your business empire, she is also someone who fully invests with you.
Investment is much more than money, a kindred client buys into what you offer by demonstrating trust in you, your process and your policies and procedures.
She does not ask for a discount because she is at her max budget and needs to make cuts somewhere or because she’s your second cousin, once removed. She does not refuse to participate in the process but instead actively engages with you in an honest desire to bring about the best results possible from your work together.
Your kindred client, is someone who INSPIRES YOU. She brings out the best in you by bringing her best to the table, too.
From personal experience I can tell you that working with the wrong client is miserable. Straight up hellish. The wrong client is always asking for more than what is fair/contracted/appropriate. She doesn’t follow through on her responsibilities, making your job incredibly challenging. She misses meetings, and doesn’t complete tasks required of her. Often, she believes she is better/more talented/more special than others and therefore is above the rules of business collaboration which is so very critical to the success of any project.
The wrong client, is painfully un-self-aware.
Here’s how to spot the wrong clients before you work with them:
They offer you exposure instead of $ (nobody has ever paid their bills with exposure)
They repeatedly question your pricing
They miss meetings or agreed upon times to connect
They don’t have a realistic view of themselves (or their business)
They are half-hearted in their communication with you
They are comparing you to others in your industry (and not understanding the difference)
You don’t like their work (or them as a person)……..yikes, I know that sounds so mean but let’s be real, it’s VERY VERY hard to do your best work for someone you do not like or respect.
Friendlies, keep your eyes out for these warning signs and remember The Right Client is someone who:
Pays her bills on time without trying to guilt you
Communicates deeply, honestly and readily
Puts her faith in your process, letting you lead as the expert while holding up her end of the relationship.
Participates fully in the project from beginning to end
Reads her entire contract and understands her responsibilities to see success from working with you
Makes you want to work with HER. She brings something inspiring and worthwhile to the table.
Remember that working with the wrong client can cost you a lot in the end. Your time and energy are valuable resources that need to be carefully managed to ensure you are giving your very best to yourself, your family, your community and your other clients. By being very choosy in who you work with, you limit the risk that you will burn out, be stressed out, or feel disconnected from your work or your family.
In the end there is a very real cost to choosing the wrong client, a cost you might not be prepared to pay if you don’t look out for the red flags which always seem so very obvious in hindsight.
Until next time,