6 Steps to Ideal Clients

This is what I posted on Facebook.

“It’s tempting to say yes to any client who offers to pay you, there are clients that quite simply are not right for you.”

As the likes and comments racked up I started thinking about that simple statement. I’ve been on both sides of “wrong client”. I’ve been the wrong client and I’ve said yes to the wrong client.

Both sides are horrible for everyone.

Regardless of what type of business you are in, a business owner is in the business of sales. Unless you sell, you don’t earn money.

When the opportunity presents itself to make money, it’s tempting to accept it.

For a moment you’re happy. Someone said yes! There is income coming in.

Then it comes time to serve that customer. You realize that no money in the world is worth the hassle that this person is causing.

If you are in a service based business you might look at your calendar and see that customer’s name on it and you’re suddenly filled with dread.

If you’re in a product based business your customer service line rings off the hook and all of the returns come from them.

You find yourself spending all of your time and energy on these “bad” clients. You find yourself exhausted and frustrated.

What’s more, when you say yes to everyone or try to be all things to all people you diminish your worth. Your product or service becomes one of many and not something special and unique for the right person.

Now let’s take a look from the client’s prospective.

You buy something that you’re excited about. You expect a certain level of service or quality of product. Yet every time you engage with the service or product you find that you aren’t getting what you expected or need. You’re frustrated, disappointed and feel taken advantage of.

What can you do, as a business owner, to prevent this?

1. Identify the characteristics of your ideal client. The more specific you are the better.

2. Assess the characteristics of a client that isn’t good for you. The more specific you are the better.

3. During sales conversations be clear and honest about what your prospect can expect from your goods or services. Don’t just paint a rosy picture.

4. Build a list of referral partners. If you sense you are not the right person to help someone, refer him or her to someone who can.

5. Refer to a checklist of characteristics of your ideal and non-ideal clients during sales conversations to help you decide whether or not to make an offer.

6. Use clear marketing messages that help people identify whether or not they are a good fit for your services or products in the first place.

Above all, remember that not all dollars are equal.

Work with the clients that excite you. They are the easiest to work with and enable you to do your best work.

Have you said yes to the wrong client? What happened?

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