Have you lost some clients, but didn’t fully understand what happened? Maybe it seemed as if they had a change of heart overnight. Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s rarely the case.
If you want to build lasting client relationships, you’ve come to the right place.
After dealing with a good number of problem clients, I would like to share Michael Luchies thoughts on dealing with such clients. Here are six ways you should be able to detect them before wasting time, effort and money on a business relationship that’s headed nowhere.
Every business should have an avatar for who their perfect client is. This details the demographics and other specifics about your dream customer — who your products or services were really created for and can provide the most value to. While you shouldn’t live or die by this model customer, knowing who your perfect customer is makes identifying the opposite very easy.
2. Clearly set expectations up front
If a client breaks an unwritten rule of your business or keeps doing things that are secret pet peeves of yours — the problem is you and not your clients. Your clients need sufficient information in order to be great clients. Don’t accept a gig or provide a service before making sure your customer understands what you expect from them, and tell them exactly what to expect from you (and then over deliver).
3. Require work from your client
After an initial call with a potential client, you should provide them with time options for a follow-up call and several questions you’d like answers to before that next phone call. If they are too busy to schedule a call with you promptly or answer the few questions you’ve sent over, they are likely going to be too busy to get back to you when you in need of responses, edits and other information required to provide them with compelling work. You have also heard outright from potential clients that they don’t have time or don’t want to deal with providing you information, which is valuable information to have.
4. Raise your prices
It’s truly remarkable the number of problems you can avoid by simply raising your prices. Not everyone looking for the cheapest product or service will be a problem client, but to their credit, they are looking for the best possible service at the cheapest price. Can you blame them? No, but you don’t have to try to be the one to provide it. To avoid this, raise your prices. The people and businesses looking for quality solutions will seek you out, and those looking for the cheapest product or service will leave you alone.
5. Screen clients
Just as a customer looks through information, reviews and often talks to you before making a purchase, you should be able to screen your customers and choose to work or not work with them. Use your website and any relevant forms to explain to your client what a perfect client for your business is.
6. Trust your gut
In the vast majority of bad client experiences, there are clear warning signs that trigger a sinking gut feeling that this isn’t going to work out. You have to be able to trust your gut, even if that means losing some business up front to grow a stronger base of quality clients. If you have a hunch, investigate it further by gathering more information from your client. If you’re still not completely sure, try working with them on a trial basis.
If you can’t find common trends among clients you continually have problems with, you may be the problem, not your clients. Your business will NEVER operate efficiently if you’re spending time on clients that aren’t worth it.
These Strategies have been tried and tested by Michael Luchies, founder of TrepRep. Before he officially launched his content-strategy, company TrepRep, he was freelancing. He provided business naming services to writing short blog posts for startups, ending up completing 634 jobs in a few years. Luchies says providing services on discount freelancing websites didn’t bring him riches, but he got a crash course in dealing with a wide variety of customers from all around the world — some good and others, not so great.
Naturally, after I found out about these ways to discover problem clients, I had to implement it for my own business. And (Wowhoo), it worked for me. Of course, if it worked for Michael Luchies and me, you definitely will not be an exception.
Wanna build lasting client relationships? Check these Six tips.