When you start a business, you’re typically happy to have any customers at all. But after a while, you might look at your client list and wish you had more of one type of client and fewer of another. Not to worry; it’s absolutely possible to attract your ideal client and clone him into more, while sending away the time-consuming clients you don’t want to work with.
What Does Your Ideal Client Look Like?
If you have a client currently that fits exactly what you’d want in terms of your ideal client, use that person or company as the mold. If you haven’t yet met your ideal client, think about the qualities he would have and make a list. That might include:
- Signs up for a monthly retainer
- Needs your services for 6 months or more
- Spends X a month with your company
- Needs minimum hand-holding
- Pays invoices on time
- Is in a certain industry
Only you know what would make a great client. It’s important to write down the characteristics, as it will help you quickly screen new potential clients to decide if they make the cut or not.
What Do You Want Less Of?
You may have some clients who call you incessantly when an email would suffice. Or who consistently pay their bills months late. Maybe they ask for a lot of work, only to shift gears and tell you to start over. Knowing what you don’t want in a client is just as important as knowing what you do want.
Send the Less-Than-Ideal Clients on Their Way
You have a few options at this point. If there are clients who are simply sucking you dry, consider firing them. Yes, you can fire clients! Tell them you’ve simply got too much work on your plate right now to do them justice. If possible, refer them to someone else.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, try raising your rates. Eventually, you’ll hit upon a price point this client doesn’t want to pay, and she’ll leave of her own accord.
You don’t want to burn bridges with the relationship, but you must be firm if you want to stop working with this client.
Find More Great Clients
If you have one or more clients you love, ask them if they know anyone else who might benefit from your services. Great clients tend to refer more great clients. If you’re aiming for contacts who will spend more with your business or who are more professional, look for networking groups that cater to more developed small business owners, rather than newbies. Get your name out there so that they know about the products or services you offer.
If you want more clients for a particular service you offer, you’ll find that the more projects you take in that area, the more you’ll attract!