Happy Valentine’s Day!
I had an interesting conversation this morning with my Valentine, The Cowboy (TC).
I was talking about my single days and how I joined a singles group in my church but never had a date. And I was looking pretty good back then, too.
TC: “Well, you probably intimidated most of them.”
Me: “You know, I realized my personality could come off a bit strong and I could downplay it, which I did. But still, nothing. Not even the geeky guys asked me out.”
TC: “Well, it turned out well for me…”
Which is of course why I love my Cowboy so much.
But later on, I was thinking (once again) about how a romantic relationship is similar to a client relationship.
So today, Valentine’s Day, I give you a few thoughts about finding clients who will love you the way you deserve. I’m going to put on my old relationship coaching hat and mix it up.
And remember: just as good communication is the foundation for great relationships, the same can be said of client relationships. If in doubt, talk it out.
To receive “healthy love,” you need to be able to “love healthy”
Pure water doesn’t flow from a scummy pond. What that means is that if you want to find healthy love, you have to be healthy yourself on the inside.
No unresolved bitterness or unforgiveness toward past relationships that hurt you.
Instead, you have to learn to let go of it all so you can make room in your heart for the good stuff.
So the first thing in finding quality clients is knowing you’re at the top of your game. You’ve gotten rid of unproductive habits and embraced excellence.
You show up on time and deliver on time.
You’re trustworthy, discreet, smart, disciplined and hardworking.
You constantly find ways to bring value to your client.
If you already are pursuing this, congratulations. You deserve to find clients who can appreciate what you can offer. You can’t expect quality clients if you’re not willing to deliver quality service, right? And you offer that, yes?
So starting from the place where you’ve already developed top-shelf service and products, here are some traits of clients who deserve you.
#1 – A great client will ask for and respect your expert opinion
If you have a client who demands to be the one in the driver’s seat every step of the way, then you might have a problem.
Good clients understand that although it’s their business, they need help. And in order to allow someone to help them, they need to ease up on holding the reins all the time.
Good clients will welcome your input and look at you as a partner for their business’ success.
#2 – Great clients understand you have other projects going on
Good clients realize that they’re not your only client. Now they may like to think they’re your favorite client but they understand that you’ve got other client work on your plate. One of my clients is very considerate when he contacts me for a new project. He usually opens with, “So, how’s the next two weeks looking for you?”
I always appreciate that he realizes I’m working on several projects at the same time and because he’s a great client, I always make room for him. Still, it’s great that he asks.
#3 – Great clients are clear with their expectations
This is probably one of the most tricky areas of a client relationship. A client will come to you because they obviously need help. Yet many have a very different picture of what “success” looks like.
Your mission… if you choose to accept it… is identifying that picture and getting on board with your client.
This must happen in the beginning of the project planning stage. It takes a combination of your investigative skills and a client who has a good idea of what they want in order to reach the their goals.
However “boring” it may seem to iron out the wrinkles, you need to do it. This will save you countless hours of heartache. Trust me. It is better to spend the extra time understanding what the client wants (and whether you can deliver it) rather than pour blood, sweat and tears into a project only to find out the next day that it was almost the direct opposite of what the client wanted.
#4 – A great client freely gives you access to resources
The toughest thing a vendor has to face is being asked to do a job without the right tools.
Resources are those tools. A good client will provide you with what you need to do the work. This could mean access to key employees, a database, past marketing collateral – anything that contributes to your project’s success.
One of my favorite clients gives me a well-developed buyer persona for my projects. This makes my job so much easier because when I write, I write for one person. Having a clear description of the perfect buyer allows me to find the pain points I need to in order to write the copy that is relevant for them.
#5 – A great client works with you on revisions
Changes are inevitable. When you work with a client, you know there will be times that slight tweaks to your work will be necessary.
Although clients have their own perspective regarding these changes, a good client will allow you to explain your position on making changes (or not making them). I know some copywriters who are hard-nosed about a client changing even one word of their copy.
Compromise is part of any healthy relationship and a good client realizes they must compromise, too.
#6 – A great client abides by your agreement
A good client will respect whatever agreement you both signed before the project started. The clients you don’t want will constantly try to get you to do work outside of the project’s scope, which ultimately has you working for nothing.
Good clients will look at what you both agreed to do and stick with it. If they do expand the scope of the project, they’ll discuss it with you and understand that extra fees will be invoiced.
#7 – A great client will pay you promptly
Not much to add to this one. A good client won’t avoid paying you. After the work is completed, they pay their invoice quickly. You won’t have to chase them down with countless emails and phone calls, trying to pretend their check may gotten “lost in the mail.”
So those are some traits of good clients, the ones who appreciate you the most. These are the types of clients you want and once you get them, do everything in your power to keep them. You probably had to kiss a few “frogs” before finding these princes and princesses. So treat them like gold because they truly are the lifeblood of your business.
A final word: don’t ever try to downplay your uniqueness. I did that and all it led to was frustration and self-blame. Instead of going down the road of “what’s wrong with me?” instead ask, “how can I find those who are a good fit for my personality, my skills, and my own brand of genius?”
You’re not everyone’s cup of tea but yet it would be a boring world if you were. Some clients will absolutely adore you while others will think you’re “too much” of this or that.
Your perfect clients are out there. Just keep on doing what you do best and the ones who need what you offer will find you.