We know that when you’re an up-and-coming small business, it’s tempting to say yes to every customer or client that shows interest in you…but you do NOT want to do that.
It’s actually more profitable and sustainable for you, in the long run, to be a little bit picky about which clients you work with.
You can actually LOSE money by picking the wrong clients to work with.
So let us share (from experience) 5 client red flags that are telling you to run for the hills.
5 Client Red Flags To Watch Out For
Client Red Flag #1: The Serial Hopper
They’ve tried 3 or more other companies that offer the same thing you do.
We’re not saying these clients are impossible to work with, but they are oftentimes harder to work with and can end in a fruitless partnership.
There is a reason those other partnerships didn’t work out, and all we’re saying is the client is the common denominator in all of them.
It could be that there’s a disconnect between what the client says they want versus how they’re measuring success.
Or, it could be they’re just one of those people that’s never happy, it could be lots of things.
But more often than not, it’s worth vetting them a little extra if they already have a history of ex-partnerships like the one they’re about to enter into with you.
Plus, the client is bringing baggage and negative expectations from their prior partnerships to your doorstep that you have to overcome right out of the gates.
Now, we do want to emphasize that we said it’s a red flag if they’ve worked with THREE or more other companies.
The reason we chose that number is because we’ve had LOTS of clients come to us because they weren’t seeing the results they wanted from previous marketing agencies.
However, our experienced digital marketing agency was able to come in and generate the results they wanted and more.
These results mean sales, leads, social media followers, etc.
So, just because they’ve worked with a (singular) previous company, or maybe two, that’s not a guarantee that the client is the problem.
There are lots of real-life scenarios where the previous companies were very much the problem.
But you know what they say, “3 or more is a pattern”.
So if you are speaking with a lead or a potential customer and you find that they have a long list of companies they went through before you…
…it’s worth, at the very least, asking a few questions about before just saying yes to them.
You don’t want to sign on with a partnership that’s destined to fail from the get-go.
Client Red Flag #2: The Poor Communicator
Obviously, small business models vary across the board, some need minimal customer communication, and some need a lot.
You know better than anyone how much customer or client interaction you expect to have.
If they do not seem like they are going to meet that standard, whatever that standard is, save yourself the time and labor lost, and say no now.
The poor communicators are often the ones who get mad later for stuff you’ve tried to talk to them about several times.
And for all you B2C or e-commerce store owners reading, these red flags apply to you too; it’s not just the service-based business!
We see it all the time on Etsy, a global online marketplace where people come together to make, sell, buy, and collect unique items.
Someone will want to buy something customized, but then they don’t fill out the customization text box correctly (or at all).
And then they would leave a bad review because they still haven’t received the item yet.
When in reality, the shop owner has been trying to contact them for weeks trying to get them to send the correct customization so they can make the product.
We mean, it could just make you pull your hair out because they’re blaming you for something they didn’t do or say correctly or at all.
The reason these red flags usually end up COSTING you money is because these clients will die on the hill of being dissatisfied and want a refund.
You’ve not only now lost time, labor, and materials, but you’ve also got an angry client with access to Google reviews.
So if they’re MIA half the time or show poor communication up front, cut them loose.
Speaking of reviews, if you want to know how to get good reviews for your business, here’s how.
Client Red Flag #3: The Mystery Decision-Maker
Have you ever put in all this work for a client based on all the conversations you’ve had with them…
…just for them to go, “Great thanks! Let me show this to my boss and I’ll get back to you.”
Or “I’ll share it with the team and send you our thoughts.”
It can be daunting because now you’re in a telephone game with the person who is truly calling the shots and paying for your product or services.
You’re depending on the go-between guy to communicate everything between you and the real decision-maker efficiently, and that usually doesn’t end well.
Try to work as directly with the ACTUAL client as possible.
Client Red Flag #4: The Rule Bender
Tell us if these phrases sound familiar: “Can we have it done a little quicker? Can you do it for a discount? Can you do this other little thing for me?”
That “thing” being something that’s outside of the agreed scope of work.
These are clients that want to break your boundaries from the start.
You’ve got your price and processes in place for a reason. Don’t let a lead make you forget that.
Client Red Flag #5: The Disrespectful Demander
This one is pretty straightforward, but some of you need to hear it. Clients that do not respect you do not need to be working with you.
I’m not going to name names, but I have personally been so disrespected by clients before.
Cursing me out, screaming at me about ME – things that had nothing to do with the work or partnership. They were negatively calling out physical attributes about me.
I’ve been on conference calls where I saw Sean disrespected and he nipped that real quick.
All we’re saying is that it’s not the 50s anymore, the customer is NOT always right.
And if you feel disrespected, we promise you it’s worth it to walk away from that partnership.
That’s because, in our experience, those people don’t have enough money to pay you anyway.
The most hateful and disrespectful clients are always the ones looking for a way to get out of paying you.
So save yourself the headache and time lost, and walk away from those clients.