Someone on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to asked this question not long ago:
I have a client that I really don’t think can handle a virtual work situation. She doesn’t communicate well, doesn’t want to set aside time that I can ask questions about work. She expects me to understand everything the first time she tells me. I could go on. I want to learn from this situation and compile some questions I can ask future potential clients to determine if they can work virtually with me. Any ideas?
My advice to her?
Run away, lol.
You already see the red flags. This is not someone who is likely to make for a good client, and will probably end up making you pull your hair out.
Start a list called Unideal Client Profile. Then, list each characteristic you’ve listed in your post.
Whenever you are tempted to step over your standards and ignore when your gut is telling you someone is not a good client candidate, take that list out to remind you why you don’t want to take on any client like that.
Unideal client are far too costly and unprofitable to work with. They cost your business far more than you realize, and not just monetarily.
The psychological toll they take is not anything you can afford.
Every unideal client takes up 3-4 times the space in your practice that an ideal client does because an unfit client generates huge negative energy that drains you while ideal clients create positive reciprocal energy that invigorates you.
You also want to start your Ideal Client Profile and add the opposite of these characteristics to that list.
Every time you realize a positive or negative attribute of a prospect or client, add those to your lists. This is an exercise you should conduct throughout the life of your business.
These lists help you get conscious and intentional about the clients you choose by documenting and formalizing your standards around who is the best fit for you—and who isn’t.
You never want to take on any ol’ client just for the money. That’s where 90% of problems start in the first place.
And you can’t serve well and do your best work for any client who simply isn’t a good mutual fit. It would actually be unethical to take that kind of client on.
The other part of this is using your website to prequalify prospective clients.
So in the course of your website content and marketing message, you want to make clear the kind of clients you’re looking to work with, who you work best with, what kind of clients benefits most from working with you and this way of working together (this is your ideal client) as well as who doesn’t (your unideal client, the client who isn’t a good fit for working with you). These Ideal and UN-Ideal Client Profiles help you with that.
There’s a whole host of other ways you can prequalify clients, but this is a start.
These steps will help you avoid wasting precious time in conversations and consultations with people who don’t fit that initial level of qualification as a good client candidate.
(And if you want to save yourself all kinds of angst and wasted time, money and effort and start getting more ideal clients and more action from your website, check out my Build a Website that WORKS guide.)