Do you ever find yourself working with clients who consistently drain your energy and motivation? Are they the same clients who attempt to squeeze your rates or have an uncanny ability to create scope creep?
We've all had them from time to time – they're called non-ideal clients.
Finding ideal clients is not a new concept. As business owners – whether we're solo service professionals, or running a company with employees – we have a responsibility to work with only those clients that energize us and inspire us to do our best work.
Why? Because when we do our best work, two things happen. First, it creates confidence and forward momentum, critical to any business success. Second, those clients begin to talk about us and our work to others, which improves the odds of attracting more of the same clients.
So how do you get started? It begins with creating a red velvet rope policy. Your policy acts as a filter so you allow only those borrowers in that fit your criteria.
Here are 4 keys to create your red velvet rope policy:
- Dump the dud clients or alliance partners. This is a big step, and it's the one we often do not do because we're afraid to dump any client or partner. However, letting go of even one dud client will open the door for ideal clients to enter. Start by taking a good look at your clients and partners, whether you have two or 50. Separate them into three categories: ideal, neutral, and dud. Now look at your dud list. Take the step to eliminate one dud client when the next natural opportunity presents itself. It can be as simple as saying "We are not a good fit," or "I'm not the best person to serve you." One that worked for me was to explain to a partner that I simply did not have time to take on the next project, but that I could refer the company to a local job board.
- List the key qualities of your ideal client. Now take a look at the ideal category and identify what makes those clients a good fit for you. It can be their commitment to excellence, ease of doing business, creativity, responsiveness, or values. These qualities will most likely fit yours as a service professional or business owner. Not every client will have all of your key qualities, but if you aim for about 75% you'll accomplish more and have fun!
- Create your client filter. This is where you turn your ideal qualities into statements. Do not hold back, let your creativity shine! For example, my ideal clients are positive and warm, I feel more energized after working with them, they want to make their communities a better place, and they are action-oriented. Your client filter should make you feel empowered and energetic!
- Accept that this is an ongoing process. As long as you're in business, you'll always use and sometimes tweak your red velvet rope policy. Keep your ideal client filter where you can see it. Remember that when you're just starting out, it's OK for the rope to be a little looser. As you grow personally and professionally, that rope will naturally get tighter as you identify and accept only ideal clients into your business.
Use these keys to creating a red velvet rope policy that will make a difference in getting all of the ideal clients you can handle!