Andy sighed. He said, “It’s like every time I see a call with this person on my schedule, I just want to gouge my eyes out.”
Andy was in the process of discovering a crucial business truth:
No amount of money is worth taking on a non-ideal client.
And yet, some business owners still do it. Why?
Fear mostly. Fear that you’re lucky to even have clients. Fear that all your clients will go away and leave you with nothing and who do you think you are getting all high and mighty and being selective?
In short, it’s just lack mentality playing tricks on you.
The truth is that you ultimately serve no one if you don’t set your business up to serve you, too. The more non-ideal clients you take on, the less you can fully serve your great clients because you’re so drained.
You really can make your business exactly what you want. You get to define who you want to work with and who you don’t want to work with.
So, what is a non-ideal client anyway?
A non-ideal client is not the same for everyone. It depends on the product or service you provide in your business. But here are some general traits to consider…
Someone who doesn’t do the work.
Someone who continually has to be convinced.
Someone who doesn’t prepare.
Someone who whines, gossips, or criticizes.
Someone who doesn’t have the money to implement your ideas.
How do you know when you’re working with a non-ideal client?
Well, wanting to “gouge your eyes” out is a pretty big clue. 🙂
But typically, you dread calls or meetings with this client. You feel drained by them.
This isn’t to say that you won’t go through challenging patches with even your best clients. But those can be worked through and are temporary.
The non-ideal client is one that just continues to attack, push back or slack. You know the ones I’m talking about!
So, how do you get better clients for your business?
Once Andy and I created an action plan for dealing with his current client, I shared a plan for how to get better clients and filter out the non-ideal clients right from the start. It takes clarity and a dose of courage to set your systems up to weed out non-ideal clients, but in the long run, it’s so worth it.
1 – Know who your ideal client is.
Can’t stress this enough. You need to know (preferably in writing) everything about your ideal client. Don’t hold back. If this person needs to be making a certain amount of money in order to benefit from working with you, then state that clearly. Get crystal clear.
2 – Set up a system for prospects to follow.
Quick. What’s the best answer to the question: How much do you charge?
No, it’s not your hourly rate. (And you shouldn’t be charging per hour anyway!)
The answer is: “Well, here’s how I do things…”
And you outline your client intake process, which involves several steps including some homework and required reading.
3 – Homework and required reading.
Position yourself as someone who is selective and clear, right from the start. Prior to discussing your services, give your prospects homework to do. Ask them to fill in a questionnaire, and give them some required reading (or listening) about who you are and the results you deliver.
Note: If they don’t do this work, then you know they probably won’t do the work once they’re paying you!
4 – Reschedule one time only.
If they do not show up for your initial call, or if they do not do the questionnaire, then reschedule one time only. Let them know gently (but firmly) that your policy is to only allow for one reschedule.
5 – Clearly state who you don’t work with.
Most of your prospects will appreciate hearing you speak clearly about who should NOT hire you. In all of your materials and during your initial meeting, share who is NOT an ideal client for you. The whiners will flee, criticizers will get offended, and people who don’t have the money will accuse you of being an asshole. You will let them have these opinions. And you will be grateful because ultimately you are serving them as you Uplevel your business.
Your turn, peeps!
In the comments, share with us how you know if a client is not an ideal client for you! What breakthroughs have you had in this area?