All businesses run because of the clients that keep them going. No matter what you try to do as a business owner though, you’re going to work with some “bad clients.” These are the clients that eat up far too much of your time for far too little pay, often to the point of making you want to quit entirely. If you can avoid these clients at their warning signs, you may end up with a better outlook on what you do. Here are some tips to help you sort the good clients from the bad.
Keep Free Phone Consultations To A Minimum
A lot of business owners make the mistake of giving out too much information for free on the phone. There’s nothing wrong with talking to your clients for extensive periods of time, but you don’t want to do that too much without settling some sort of contract. For instance, let’s say you run a computer repair shop and someone calls you with an easy-fix solution. Rather than having that person come in so you can see the problem and fix it on the spot, you spend 15 minutes walking her how to do it on her own. Then you’re out 15 minutes of work time and you lost a potential contract.
If you’re going to offer free consultations, schedule them to be in person so you can better connect with your clients. This will ultimately lead to more sales for you.
Be Leary Of Those Who Do Their Own “Research”
Your clients have the right to research whatever they want before working with you, and in some ways, it’s good that they do. It may save you from having to explain some of the basics of your business. Nevertheless, a lot of clients come out thinking they are “experts” on a matter because they spent 5 minutes Googling it. These are the ones you have to worry about. They are constantly going to undermine and question what you do, which will either drive you crazy or make you second guess your instincts. If someone starts to tell you what to do too much, you might want to send them somewhere else.
Steer Clear Of Small Budgets
To clarify, you need to stay away from clients who tell you they have very little money to spend upfront. Some of them do this to try to get lower prices from you, and others want as much free advice as possible. Tell your clients that you will respect their budgets, but you can only do so much for the money they have to offer. If you can work with the money they have, great. If not, they will simply need to lower their expectations.
Get a feel for potentially bad clients before they become permanent obligations, and politely find ways to turn them down. You may lose a little money at first, but that will be a small price to pay for the stress relief you get in return.