They seem awesome when you’re buying them (they’ll stretch out, right?), but once you start walking around in shoes that don’t fit, you begin to feel the misery of your investment in the soles of your feet. In running your business, it’s a similar scenario: you take on business you know isn’t a good fit, then lament the fact as you’re toiling over the project for that client. The better tack is to address things in the very beginning, during what I call the “courtship” stage. You need to formulate questions for yourself in order to really smoke out the “vampire” client when they appear on your radar:
- Do you know what they need and can you provide it?
- Are they sincere or just “tire-kicking” to get your ideas, then find a cheaper vendor?
- Have they shared their budget? (If they don’t, this is always an immediate, glowing red flag for me.)
- When do they want deliverables? Is it a reasonable timeline or pie-in-the-sky?
- Have you had an exploratory talk to get things out in the open, leaving little room for surprises?
- How’s the vibe in your conversation with this potential client and would you like working with them?
The last question for me is something that can make or break ANY working relationship. If you find you don’t even like the client or are opposed some how to them in ways that could make things sticky, back away. Fast. As business owners, we have it in our power to turn down caustic or troublesome people and our sanity will be preserved for it. Just like a good pair of shoes, if they fit, you’ll have them around for a long time and love having them around. (Photo Credit: Kevin H.)
Do you have an experience, taking on a client you shouldn’t have? Please share it 🙂