Here’s what we’ll cover

Ever had a business client that has just done your head in?

Have you ever taken on a business client knowing that they really aren’t someone you want to work with or knowing that the work really isn’t your jam?  

Well, you’re not alone!  We’ve all been there and many of us stay there for way too long. Continuing to take on less than ideal clients.

In this episode I’m going to give you a few reasons to start thinking about making the shift from loathing to loving all the clients that you bring into your business and I’ll give you a couple of monetary reasons why too!

I’ll give you not one but 4 reasons why you need to think about sacking some clients.  We will take a look at the characteristics of your ideal clients and I’ll finish up with 4 things for you to think about to get more ideal and less unideal clients in your business.

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Let’s face it, when we started our businesses we were taking on any number of different clients – because we have to, right?

We may even have had a clear idea on who our ‘ideal client’ is and some of us may have even named him or her.  Now before you go thinking I’m nuts – the concept of putting a name to your ideal client is a real one – but this is not a podcast about branding or creating ideal clients avatars – so I’m going to move on from that pretty quickly. 

This is a podcast on building profitable, lifestyle friendly businesses. And having a clear idea of who your ideal client is, is a good way to start.

But, just because we have a vision of this ideal client doesn’t mean the right people just start turning up.  

Sometimes the wrong people turn up, but in the early stages of business we breeze over the fact that they aren’t ideal – in fact, if they’ve got money they are probably perfectly ideal!  Right now at least.  Maybe they are poor payers, they won’t take your advice, they may not fit squarely into your area of expertise, they are hard work and just not the type of person you want to work with.

If you have fast forwarded a couple of years and you’re left with this eclectic mix of clients you love and clients you loathe.

So if you’re a couple of years into your business and your looking around half excited and half shaking your head at the types of clients you’ve attracted then before you continue on down that path I want you to think about these 4 things;

1. The wrong clients are expensive;

They are the ones that huff about your fees and try to beat you down. 

Or you know they will try and beat you down, so you ‘go low’ on the fees to avoid the conflict. 

Let’s think about this one for a minute – if you have revenue of $300,000 in a year and you’ve been pushed into reducing that by 3% by wrong fit clients – that’s $9k that is gone – forever.

2. The wrong clients are time consuming;

They are constantly shifting the goalposts or questioning everything you do. 

Maybe they ‘have a friend’ that knows a better way or maybe they found a better option on good old google and they want you to check it out.  

Or they don’t reply to your calls or your emails for days on end and you’re constantly chasing them up.  They don’t keep their side of the bargain, not sending you the information you need.

If you’re getting an average return on time of $300 per hour and a poor fit client blows a job out by 5 hours – they’ve just cost you $1,500.  By the way, if you don’t know what your return on time is, you definitely need to subscribe to this podcast and listen in weekly.

3. The wrong clients can be soul sucking;

There’s a noticeable difference in how ‘well your day’ goes when you’ve been working on something for an ideal as opposed to someone who isn’t.  It’s really draining, or it’s plain old uninteresting work.

And this goes for you and your team. From the people who answer the phone to the team that handle the work along the way.

Whether they are demanding or whiny or slow or even angry people, if you don’t want them in your life then I’m sure your team doesn’t either!  They aren’t good for team moral!

4. They are bad for cashflow;

They don’t provide you with the information you need to complete the job. So you have these never-ending jobs that you just can’t finalise the invoice for.  

Hopefully you’ve received the cash before the job is finished because they’ll probably string out your payment as well.

The wrong clients don’t have to necessarily be BAD clients to be wrong.  I’ve made these wrong clients sound pretty ordinary above.  

Wrong clients can be the sweet old lady that you’ve been dealing with forever.  They could be your friend, family or neighbour.   They could be people you love dealing with but their work is just not the type of work you want to do anymore.  

So, at the beginning of our business life, we may not have the luxury of saying no.  Our bank account might be a clear indication of that!  And I’m not suggesting that you should until your business is strong enough financially. 

BUT it definitely should be in your list of business goals.  To say NO to those that are referred to you, or if they are in your eco-system your goals should be to professionally and gently move them out if they don’t fit.  

Getting the right mix of clients is one of the keys to a profitable and lifestyle friendly business.  It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes some courage, but if you’ve ever quit a job and walked away feeling amazing about yourself and your future – it kind of feels like that.  

Deciding to remove bad fit clients makes room for more of the right fit clients, you’ll make more money and have more fun doing it!

So what do ‘ideal clients’ look like – ideally? Here’s a few characteristics;

  • They pay you on time or before
  • They seek your advice and act on it
  • They refer you to quality prospects
  • They challenge you with the work they want done – not the same old boring stuff
  • They are easy to work with and you can work as a team – together

I want you to stop for a second and think about how good it would feel to replace the poor fit ones with the good ones

So, let’s recap – 4 reasons you want to think about sacking clients that don’t fit and start saying NO.

  • They are expensive
    • get this right and you’ll be charging properly and more profitable
  • They are time consuming
    • get this right and your flow of work will feel effortless and seamless and ultimately, you’ll be more profitable.
  • They are soul-sucking
    • Get this right and you and your team are going to love coming to work!
  • They are bad for cashflow
    • Get this right and your bank account will be healthier!

So that’s why – now here’s a few things you can do to get this moving in your business;

1. Know who your ideal client is.  Hint, think about the top 3 clients you love to work with and the type of work you love doing.  Be sure you are marketing to these people and these people only.

2. Go through your existing client list and identify those you may need to professionally and gently remove over time.  

3. Assess all new leads – out of 5 – how much do I want to work with this client? If they don’t come in at 4 or 5 be prepared to say no.

4. Refer poor fit clients to someone else. 

It might simply be a conversation, I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years the type of work we are doing together is not where my business is heading.  I’d like to recommend someone else who may be a much better fit for you.

Another business in your field may be looking for exactly that type of client. Or maybe a business that is where you were a couple of years ago – give them a referral – you might make their day!

In the end, the quality of your clients, how well they are aligned to your ideal client goals has a MASSIVE impact on your profit and how much you enjoy your business.

You’ll need some confidence in your profitability, your cashflow, the ability of your marketing to continue attracting the right clients but it is a goal that should be firmly planted in your mind.