Managing Clients: How to Pick and Choose the Dream Clients to Work With
August 18, 2015
August 18, 2015
Clients make you money. You might as well say, you have a tacit understanding with yourself that you’d do everything you can to serve your clients well, deliver promptly, give your work the best chance to shine through, and maybe even go out of your way to serve them.
Apart from the act of “getting clients”, the only thing that determines how sustainable your freelancing business is how you manage your clients. The better your relationship is with them, the richer you get.
Not everyone you work with will turn out to be your dream client though. In fact, before you know it, you’ll soon end up with a few clients from hell that you can boast of.
While you can’t completely avoid such clients, you can do a lot to minimize the presence of such clients. Here are a few tips on managing clients:
Screen clients as they screen you
You see a brief, you send out a pitch, and you wait for a response. It’s a delight to see replies to your proposals. However, don’t get too carried away. You know you are in the limelight when clients consider your proposal or ask you for a quote. Similarly, you should use the initial emails, calls, or meetings to screen clients too.
Most freelancers freeze at the thought of “screening clients” (that’s not normal, is it?), but it’s the best way to avoid clients from hell.
Pick cues and the little red herrings
In the normal course of a pre-sale communication, you’d normally be able to pick red flags, little red herrings, and tons of clues about a client. First, you’d get to know their business and your clients’ approach to their business. Is your client asking for discounts? Are they taking too long to reply your messages for seemingly simple questions?
Are they clear about the scope of work? Are their expectations realistic? Do they want the moon and still want to pay you peanuts? Do they bargain too much on the price?
Think about it.
The Ball? Whose court, exactly?
Here’s a great way to make sure you get what you want and your client just gives in: put the ball in their court.
What do we mean by that? On the very first call (or any form of communication you use), screen your client. Look for the clues. If they pass the first two tests, then throw in a bunch of rules that are to be mutually acceptable by both parties. A few examples could be:
- Pricing, terms and conditions, frequency of payments, and form of payments
- Deadlines, delivery, and how exactly you should work.
- Whether you would work hourly, for a fixed price, or on a retainer?
If your potential clients see enough value in your offering, if you are reasonable enough, and if your potential client is serious about doing business, you should get a “yes” at best or a serious of “negotiations” at least.
If you flinch or if your heart tugs at you for any of the points above, you are likely to be heading straight for trouble.
As you work the numbers, spend your soul on the hustle, and work hard to build your freelancing career; bad clients are not worth your time and effort. They aren’t even worth the money they pay.
How do you handle bad clients?