How to Vet Clients Before You Say “I Do”
Our big mistake was that we were blind because of the money.
When we took this client on, we were only concerned with prices and hours, not the experience or the satisfaction of producing great work. We were following orders that we didn’t believe in from people who didn’t believe in us. However, there’s a limit to how much personal and professional sacrifice you can or should put up with for that price.
Though these kinds of clients may be unpleasant to work with, most of the time they aren’t bad people, just bad clients. It’s important to remember that.
To avoid this headache, find out what kind of clients you are working with by asking yourself the following questions early on:
- Does this client have clear expectations on their end goal?
- Does this client violate our business ethics?
- Does this client have a history of being difficult with other vendors?
- Does this client have unrealistic expectations and limited knowledge of your services?
- Does this client have the same vision for the project as you do?
- Does this client understand the value of what I’m bringing to the table?
- Does this client feel like they own us because they are paying us?
- Does this client control my business’ main source of cash flow?
In the end, overcoming this experience taught us a very valuable lesson about choosing clients. It narrowed down the scope of our tolerance, and we are now more upfront about how we expect to work.
We learned a clear, definitive voice, plus a positive outlook, pave the way for effective client communication. Yet the biggest lesson we learned was that working with a client solely for the money is a huge, and often deadly, mistake. You have to decide the price that you are willing to pay before ever working with a client. Only then can you effectively grow and succeed as a business.
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At 21 years old, Kenny Nguyen is the CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a presentation company that does presentation design, presentation consulting and commercial video production. The company has recently been featured in Inc. Magazine as one of 2012′s Coolest College Startups, and hosts the blog Hook-Line-N-Sinker for presenters.