How Do You Select Your Clients?
Is this a weird question?
Or should we ask this instead:
‘Do you actually select your clients, or do you just take on any project, any freelance job, any client that comes your way, regardless of whether it is a good fit or not?'
If there is some sort of selection process with regards to finding and signing the best clients, what does that process look like?
Are you selecting clients based on
- what they are willing to pay
- their marketing needs
- geographical location
- the business model they use
- an industry they are in
- mutual respect
- previous relationship
- referrals from current clients
or are you taking on any client that comes your way?
If you don't have any sort of selection process in place yet – and we've found that many new social media managers start out taking any job, any client and any project that comes their way – read on to learn more about how you can spot red flags, so to speak, to prevent working with clients who are just not right for you!
What Do You Love About Your Best Clients?
Before you can identify who you do not want to work with, you need to know who you do love to work with!
Ask yourself these two questions:
“Who are my best clients?” and
“What do I love about my clients?”
Make a list, why don't you?
Do you love their
- communication methods
- team members
- products and services
- problem-solving ability
- customer service
- work ethic
- ability to listen
- company culture
- service projects
- charity involvement
- office space
- technical knowledge
- sense of humor
- business strategy
Once you have created this list, arrange these traits in order of importance to you and your business goals! You might value the ability to listen higher than office space, perks or technical knowledge, but what you admire most is maybe work ethic. Whatever it is that attracted you to this ideal client in the first place, is what you want to find and duplicate in subsequent clients if at all possible.
Keeping this list handy on your computer, or in a note on your phone, will be of great value the next time you are tempted to sign on a less-than-ideal client.
Let's face it; we've all been there and done that and instantly regretted it, right?!
Now that you have this list of things you love about your clients, let's identify a few types of clients you might want to avoid.
Are There Clients You Should Avoid?
Let us make this clear first.
For every client out there, there is a marketer that can help!
What you want to avoid is taking on someone who you will regret working with.
Don't sign clients who you don't have respect for, or who in turn, don't respect you, value your time, your input, your strategy, your business philosophy and how you conduct your business.
If you are:
- Organized, avoid clients who are disorganized, unless you love ‘fixing' things.
- A good communicator, avoid clients who don't respond to calls, texts or email inquiries in a timely manner.
- Experienced, avoid clients who offer you a low hourly rate.
- Punctual, avoid clients who are late for meetings or keep you longer than was agreed upon.
- Confident, avoid nay-saying and negative clients.
You know yourself best. Things that rub you the wrong way from the start of a client relationship will most likely not change after you've signed a contract. Be honest with yourself about what you are willing to tolerate or compromise on.
Social Media Marketers and Client Relationships
In our Social Media Managers Facebook group, this ‘red flagging' of potential clients recently came up in a discussion about breach of contract and non-payment. It was suggested we produce a ‘red flag client' article as a follow up to ‘The Best Way To Collect Money From Your Non-Paying Client‘.
The team at Social Media Pro likes to stay positive!
Social media management is an amazing career choice and offers great opportunities and benefits. Social media management is an extremely flexible career for those willing to learn new skills and/or looking to work from home.
Instead of writing an article titled ‘When You See These Red Flags, Run Away From This Client', we feel this one paragraph dedicated to this issue is enough, and then we want to be done with it.
Again, for every client out there, there is a marketer that can help!
Now we are ready to reveal some red flags to look for during a discovery call.
Watch Out For These Red Flags When Speaking With A Potential Client
Scenario: You set up a 30-minute discovery phone call with a potential client who came to you through inbound marketing. You have confirmed the appointment 24 hours in advance of this call. Everything is on track and you are excited about this call.
Red Flags: The potential client…
- is a no-show to the call
- was more than 15 minutes late without giving you notice
- came late to the call and didn't apologize
- reschedules the call more than twice
- keeps you on the phone longer than the scheduled 30 minutes and doesn't answer your questions
- pushes you to give him/her a quote on the spot, over the phone
- requests you to start work tomorrow
- asks questions about ‘how you will do things', not ‘what you will do and why'
- verbally bashes the previous marketing team
- gets pushy about who your other clients are, even if you explain the NDAs you've signed
- speaks badly about his/her competition
- insists on three more meetings before signing a contract
- needs you to create a 12-month marketing plan as part of the interview process
- promises you that you will love working for him/her
- invites you to meet over coffee so he/she can pick your brain further
- goes on and on about how much s/he knows about marketing
- doesn't have a budget, and verbalizes this in the call
- offers to barter for your services
- gives you immediate feedback on how to do your job, and last but not least
- just gives you the creeps!
If it doesn't feel right, most likely it isn't the right fit! Trust your gut and only work with people you respect.
There will always be another potential client coming your way. Just say “next”!
How To Love Your Best Clients More Every Day!
If you already have awesome clients… ?
Nurturing your client relationships will benefit your business as retention marketing pays off huge dividends.
It pays to keep clients happy!
Ways to keep your current clients happy include
- provide exceptional service
- look for opportunities to showcase their success online
- send them some swag
- ‘client of the month' i.e. highlight their business on your social media (as long as you don't have an NDA in place)
- remember the clients birthday
- be a team player
- write handwritten ‘Thank You' notes
- be available for consults when needed
- check-in weekly (or monthly)
- express a genuine personal interest in their family
The selection process of finding your ideal client doesn't always go as planned. However, knowing yourself and understanding what type of client you serve best will help you find the best clients!
If you have the best clients, feel free to brag a little and let us know why they are so amazing; leave us a comment!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.