I like to think of myself as open minded.
when my wife, Linda, suggested we purchase some “garden art” and become
the sort of people who display this sort of thing, I said OK.
Sure enough, just a few days later, we had installed a bronze flowery thing in our back garden (see photo).
But it’s not just a flowery thing – it’s a spinning flowery thing that speeds up, slows down and rotates based on the strength and direction of the wind.
I have to say, I kind of love it.
It’s fun to watch and, because
it’s pretty much always moving, it makes you feel like there’s somebody
out back doing yard work. A somebody who, thankfully, is not you.
I’m also quite proud of the fact that I followed the directions closely and took great pains to ensure the support pole was perfectly vertical.
As the installation manual explained, if the pole is installed correctly, the flowery thing will spin silently and smoothly. You’ll be pleased to know, it does exactly that.
When it comes to your business and, more specifically, your level of satisfaction in working with clients, the corollary of a pole that is “perfectly vertical,” is a target client that is well defined.
as well, if you take the time to do this right at the beginning, your
work life will likewise spin silently and smoothly (see what I did
there?). If you don’t, you’ll spend a fair amount of time trying to fix
things after the fact.
Good clients don’t just happen
I’m not exaggerating when I say I don’t have a single client that I don’t like and enjoy spending time with.
But it’s not an accident.
It’s because I’m very clear about the type of people I work best with and the type of work I’m particularly good at.
With that knowledge in hand, I go about looking for these people.
of the features I’m in search of are just basic demographics: size,
industry, location, years in business, etc. And when you ask people to
describe their perfect client, that’s more or less what you hear.
But don’t stop there.
In my experience, it’s the “soft stuff” that makes the difference between day-to-day interactions that are at best, wonderful and at worst, miserable.
So when I’m talking to potential clients, here’s what I’m looking for…
Are they good listeners?
Do they welcome push back and differing points of view?
Do they appreciate the value of marketing, or are they just trying to check a box?
Are they looking for a partner or a vendor?
Do they think they already know all the answers?
Are they fun to interact with or are they all business?
This isn’t the right list, it’s just my list. I’m sure yours will be different.
The important thing, though, is to take the time to make a list in the first place.
try and be as honest as possible with yourself the next time the
“wrong” prospective client starts waving money around – even if it means
walking away .
And I know, it’s not easy to do.
But if you sell a professional service, nearly all of your income comes from your clients. If you are not deliberate about picking the right ones, it doesn’t take much wind for things to spin wildly out of control.
- Do you read instruction manuals?
- Your spouse and I don’t believe you.
- What “soft” things do you look for in a client?