It's well understood that clients need to be selective when searching for a firm that matches their goals and values. However, it is every bit as important for you as a business owner to be at least a little selective about the clients you take on as well.
A great client can bring enormous value to your business. A bad client, on the other hand, can often end up costing you much more in time and hassle than they ever give back in profits. To help ensure that you are able to fill your schedule with clients who are an ideal fit for you and your business, let’s take a look at a few helpful tips for determining whether you and your client are the right fit for each other.
1) Learn How to Spot Clients Who Are More Trouble Than They Are Worth
Knowing how to spot and avoid a bad client is just as valuable as identifying your ideal clients. With that in mind, there are a number of red flags to look out for that could indicate that a client is going to be more trouble than they are worth.
Clients who show signs of being overly demanding are often best avoided. If a client is demanding that you respond to their emails at 7:00AM on a Sunday morning or insisting that you complete their project on an unreasonable timetable—then working with them is likely to bring more hassle and headache than anything else.
Any client who nags you about offering discounts is another red flag. Clients who insist that you are the last hope for their business are often best avoided as well—it may be nice to imagine that you are someone's final lifeline, but keep in mind that desperation often makes a person incredibly difficult to work with.
Of course, these are just a few warning signs of a bad client. Poor communication, a lack of instruction, or even just a bad "gut feeling" about a client are signs that a client might not be the best fit for your firm.
2) Determine Your Ideal Client
Before you can fill up your schedule with work from amazing clients, you'll first need to determine what an amazing client for your firm actually looks like. Create a detailed customer profile outlining the goals, working demeanor, and pain points of your ideal client. In addition to helping you pinpoint what an amazing client looks like so that you will be able to notice one when they come knocking, creating a thorough customer profile can also help you better target your firm's marketing efforts as well.
3) Learn to Say No
Some companies take the approach of going all-out for their clients and never telling a client "no." While this may seem like the best way to keep clients happy and coming back for more, it isn't always the best way to run a business.
Setting firm limits in regard to what you are not willing to do for a client and getting comfortable turning down requests that are unreasonable is sure to save you a lot of stress. The clients who are understanding and worth working with won't mind that you have limits, and the clients who do mind probably aren't worth having.
4) Spend Some Time Getting to Know Your Clients
Getting to know a new client isn't always easy, especially in today's increasingly digital world where you may not ever meet your client in person. However, a little effort spent getting to know a new client will go a long way toward ensuring that the two of you are a good fit for each other. If you aren't able to meet a client in person, invite them to discuss their project over a brief phone call. In many cases, a few minutes on the phone with a client will tell you a lot more about what working with them is like than emails and online messages ever could.
5) Fine-Tune What You Are Selling
If you want to attract your ideal clients, you need to make sure that you are offering what your ideal clients are looking for. In some cases, this means fine-tuning your services to focus on a specific industry or demographic of clients. While many companies are afraid of losing business and therefore hesitant to narrow their services in this manner, focusing on what you do best and the clientele that you enjoy working with the most is an excellent way to start attracting more ideal clients. In the end, filling up your schedule with amazing clients is the ultimate goal, even if it takes a little more time to get there.