By Justine Clay
I recently started working with a new client and she’s just a delight. She’s invested, receptive to being outside of her comfort zone and willing to roll up her sleeves and get in there. Not only is the process more energizing for both of us but it yields much better results (which are good for everyone!)
So why do we continue to try to stick a square peg in a round hole and work with clients that we don’t have that chemistry with? After all, didn’t we go into business so we could choose who we work with?
I’ve learned that ignoring my instincts and taking on a client who’s not a good fit usually comes from a place of insecurity. That unhelpful little voice that says “surely you’re not going to turn down work”. But at what cost do you ignore those signals? You’re miserable, your client is less than satisfied and the results suffer.
So next time you think about taking on a new client ask yourself the following questions:
What can I do for this client?
How do your services benefit your client? Be honest about where your expertise lies and how that jives with their needs.
Am I the best person for this project, or could someone else do a better job?
Passing a client on to someone who you feel might be a better fit makes sense because:
- it creates good will by showing that you understand their needs and have their best interests in mind. Good will = good Karma.
- Referring a client within your professional network builds relationships and referrals go both ways.
Am I excited about the work we could do together?
When I’m genuinely invested and excited I’m just more on my game and it shows in the results.
Do they feel the same excitement?
It takes two. If this relationship’s going to work, both parties need to be feeling the love.
Do we have a similar outlook/approach
Trying to persuade a fearful conservative client to live outside of her comfort zone can be hard work. Know your style and be sure that your client’s temperament is aligned with that.
What would the consequences be if I passed?
Try to stay away from the dark side on this one i.e. focusing on the money you’ll be passing up. More often than not, the only real ‘consequence’ is that saved both parties a lot of aggravation and left the door open for another client who will be a better fit.