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One of my favorite business gurus when I first started out back in 1996 was Gary Halbert.
He always used to say, “Clients suck.”
In fact you could consider that a motto of his. He even had those words written across the front of one of his hats.
Do clients suck?
They can. Talk to any service provider and they can probably relate a few experiences with clients who suck.
Early in my business I wrote copy for a couple of clients. I remember one who wanted it done yesterday…and then never paid the royalty he owed on it. That sucks.
But the reality is that in all the years I’ve worked with clients…the vast majority have been awesome!
I’ve been working with one-on-one coaching clients since 2006. And I had multiple coaching groups along with doing copywriting for a few clients before that.
A few poor apples may slip through, but they’re the exception instead of the rule.
If you want to attract high quality clients who implement your advice, pay on time, and are great people to work with…you have to set that as your intention.
Rule #1: Qualify a client BEFORE you accept them.
Which clients can you produce the best results for?
Who is the most difficult for you to help succeed?
You may decide that a client needs to have a specific budget for advertising or you can’t work with them. Or a client has to be open to testing and tracking all their results. Or they need to delegate low dollar work to team members.
What qualifies someone as a high quality client for your services? You could get on the phone with a prospective client, interview them, and discover if they have what it takes.
By the way, taking this attitude makes speaking to potential clients a lot more fun. You’re not selling them. Instead, you’re deciding whether they’re qualified to work with you.
Or you could also simply list your qualifications on your website to reduce the number of low quality leads coming through. A lot of times you attract the wrong clients because you don’t set clear expectations of who you want to help.
Rule #2: Set proper boundaries.
What are the rules for working with you? Can they call you at midnight? Should they send 10 emails per day? What if you don’t respond in 5 minutes?
Boundaries aren’t a negative. Instead, they give clarity to the relationship. Everyone operates better when you’re clear about what you expect from them and what they can expect from you.
And if something gets out of line, make sure to restate your expectations. Don’t allow yourself to quietly harbor negative emotions towards your client that will eventually make you want to leave your business.
Rule #3: Be willing to fire a bad client.
Follow rule #1 & #2 and you won’t have very many bad clients. But it’s possible a couple may get through. They don’t respect your boundaries even after being reminded of them.
The solution here is you have to fire them. Follow the old relationship break-up technique, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
Since they aren’t getting the service they want or the kind of results they want to see, they would likely be better served with a different provider. This is true. For whatever reason, you’re simply not a good match.
Perhaps you’re not the right provider or maybe they really do suck. Either way, you’re not the right provider for them.
Clients don’t suck. But sometimes our methods of attracting clients do.
If you’re a business coach, considering being a business coach, or you offer done-for-you type services to business owners…then check out the Growth Acceleration System. Find out if you’re the right fit…