The key thing to remember is that not all money is the same, and not all business is the same. I didn’t realize that by taking on a client that isn’t the right fit, I was actually hurting my bottom line.
The first one is questioning EVERYTHING during the sales process. I can remember on several occasions during my wedding planning days having an engaged couple show up to a sales consult with a list of 40 “questions to ask” that they printed off from a website such as The Knot or Wedding Wire. First, if they took a few minutes to read my website, about 95% of those questions would have been answered. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so important to be sure that you understand what your paying for before you hire someone however let’s get to know each other a bit first and be sure that these are actual things you feel you need to know rather than just reiterating questions from a website because you’re trying to rationalize your decision. And going along with this, another red flag is when people KEEP asking questions after you’ve already explained something. Typically these clients just aren’t fully on board yet which is why they keep delaying the decision to hire you and keep coming up with questions to ask. If that’s the case, then they aren’t the client for you, and that’s ok. Let them go.
The second red flag is a potential client that isn’t a good listener. It imperative to have a great working relationship with someone else that they be a good listener and not the type of person that only wants to hear themselves talk or constantly talks over you or interrupts you. If you see signs of this during the sales process or the booking process, just know it’s probably going to be exactly the same when you are working with the person as a client. So don’t be afraid to say no to someone who just won’t listen and thinks they are the only person with valuable things to say.
Asking for discounts or negotiating. I know that some people are trained to do this, they think part of doing business with someone IS the negotiation process. Or maybe it’s a part of their culture to ask or expect to negotiate however I strongly believe that you wouldn’t go into a restaurant and negotiate the cost of your meal, so you shouldn’t do it to service providers or small businesses either. If someone insists on asking for a discount or negotiating, they clearly aren’t seeing your value. And if someone doesn’t value you from the beginning, it’s going to be tough to sell them on it later and they might always feel like they aren’t getting ENOUGH or getting their money’s worth. So be wary of people who insist on wheeling and dealing and asking for discounts.
First, these clients drain your time and energy which leaves you with less energy and time to give to your best clients. They don't respect your boundaries or processes so you are constantly having to re-explain things or course correct the working relationship. They also are impossible to please and usually asking for MORE. If they didn’t see your value during the booking process, they are going to try to figure out how to make up for it later but asking for more. This might come in the form of asking “can you just help with this one little thing?” or you might find yourself bending over backwards for them and they don’t even seem to notice. These non-ideal clients will never be happy because they didn’t value you to begin with and they are going to give you a lot of stress and overwhelm in trying to work with them.
Clients that aren’t the right fit negatively affect your bottom line. You might think “oh well at least I’m getting paid so it’s worth it” but it’s not because you’re also spending MORE time with them, giving them more resources, and spending more energy than they paid for.
And that’s all time, resources, and energy that you COULD be getting paid for by another client who IS a good fit. So essentially that one crappy client could be taking up the “space” of 3 clients or your capacity for 3 clients but you’re only getting paid for that one.
So you LOSE money overtime when you continually make the decision to take on clients that aren’t the right fit.
If you’re worried about the money or worried you’ll never book anyone else or worried that you’ll won’t book your ideal client, take that time you would have spent working with someone who isn’t the right fit, and use it to improve your marketing, improve your messaging, get even clearer on your ideal client, put that energy in moving your business forward and TOWARDS more ideal clients.
If these tips today resonated with you, be sure grab my free guide, 5 Steps to Your Most Profitable Year because in it I discuss more things you need to consider in order to book more clients, increase your revenue, and have the most profitable year in business yet.