Make MORE Money By Turning These Clients Away
Turning people away isn’t just a tactic of the popular kids to keep their group exclusive.
It’s a very valuable business strategy that actually makes you more money in the long-term and short-term.
There are are several situations in which you’d want to cut off clients at the pass, which sets you up to be more profitable.
As a solopreneur, your time is precious. Glaring red flags are almost always shown early on in your relationship. These are the kinds of clients that cost you more than you’ll bring in if you take them on.
They want you to do something out of your scope.
We all know these people. Let’s say you’re a divorce lawyer, but a friend recommends you to a friend who needs a lawyer for a small business project. You could easily take on the client, even though you know you won’t do a very good job. It’s not in your speciality, but you say yes as a favour and an exception this one time.
The client completely pulls your hair with absurd requests, questions and a sense of entitlement. Not to mention, your results are less than stellar and the clients complain about that too.
You could have saved time and money by just turning the client away.
They can’t or won’t follow simple directions.
You tell them to email you, and they tweet you instead. Or you ask for a phone number, and they ask to video chat. Or you ask for images in a certain format, and they ignore you.
Not only is failing to follow explicit directions disrespectful, but it also hints at either a lack of common sense or sense of entitlement.
I’ve encountered many people who, for reasons unknown to man, are unable to follow multi-step directions.
Stay away. If this is your first or second encounter, politely tell them this won’t be a good fit.
Put safeguards in place that test clients in advance of you speaking with them. An intake form and calendar booking are perfect examples of this. I have both, and if I see someone booked a Concept Concierge appointment without educating themselves on my process and what’s required from them I will politely cancel with an explanation.
The short-term monetary gain is a long-term hellish situation.
They change their mind every 5 seconds.
Whether it’s simply indecision or bipolar disorder- you shouldn’t care. If they are incapable of making small decisions (like which image they want on their book cover as an author) they will without a doubt make your life miserable when they need to make bigger decisions. It's an indication of a much deeper problem you aren't qualified to help them with.
They ask for your opinion when you need theirs to make an executive decision.
Solopreneurs turned Tycoons should always be in control, but that doesn’t mean you don’t listen and hear your clients feedback. If your clients have great difficulty making decisions you need them to make and instead always default to you, your alarm should go off. The outcome will almost always be that they blame you for ruining everything.
They complain about your rates.
Any client who cries the blues about money usually has it, they just don’t want to spend it on you. Which is an insult itself, but also a large cue for you to quietly back away.
If a client doesn’t think you are worth what you're charging but pays you anyway, they will constantly second guess and mistrust you for the duration of your contract.
On the other hand, premium clients have the money to pay, can clearly see you’ll be worth the investment and then pay without a peep.
Because the truth is, the people who really can’t afford you now are too embarrassed to admit they don’t have the money. Instead, they will save every penny until they can pay your rate and be treated like any other client.
They ask questions that were already answered.
This is an actual message I receive on a regular basis:
“So what do you do and how can you help me?”
They want to be spoon fed all of the information that is publicly available on my website and LinkedIn profile with a few clicks and reading comprehension of a 5th grader. I wonder if people like this look at your profile or homepage, click CONTACT, write you a long question that could have been answered by reading, and never return to your website again.
Anyone who isn’t capable of clicking a link, reading your website or doing simple research is not someone whose money you want.
They will expect you to coddle them every single second of the day. Even if they’re capable and just refuse to do the basic work, they will 100% be a nightmare. Laziness isn't becoming.
You want a proactive premium client who is smart enough to read and comprehend all the information you’ve put out about your business, realize it’s for them and ask intelligent questions to qualify themselves.
Some intelligent questions I’ve been asked include:
I haven’t worked with 5 clients yet.. can you still build me a business?
Answer= Not yet. Please come back after you have experience with 5 different clients or projects. Neither of us will get very far without your real-world experience.
Do you need anything from me to build my business, like pictures?
Answer= Usually not. I take care of all the design assets.
I understand you build businesses for freelancers.. just to clarify can you help me specifically do XYZ? I couldn’t find any information on this on your website.
Great question. I can do XYZ but I can't do XYZ..
Unintelligent questions include:
A blanket “Can you help me?”
Answer= Did you even look at my website? I can help you if you are a solopreneur selling a service online.
How long will it take for you to build my business?
It says 1 week all over my website, on LinkedIn, on your forehead…
I recommend ignoring requests that they could have easily answered themselves with a quick read of your profile or website. They are definitely not someone you want to work with, so why waste your time responding?
What kills me is that in the time these people take to write a question, they could have already had the information they seek.
They don’t use proper grammar.
People who care about how they present themselves use proper grammar and spelling. No one is perfect and even I have published a few things several sets of eyeballs didn't catch right away, but when I see the mistake I correct it.
If you receive an email from an inquiring client that reads:
“i just have a qestion.. im not sure if you can help me butt my problem is….”
just forget about them.
I mean, get back to them and politely send them away if you have time to kill. But don’t engage in any further conversation about potentially working together because the writing is on the wall- literally!
If someone doesn’t take them self seriously enough to present themselves with finesse, he or she certainly doesn't care about your high standards and will never “get” you or your five star business. Let them work with someone else on par with their spelling and grammar skills.
I personally don’t pay for services or products from a person who doesn’t have a strong command of the English language (if their primary language is English). It speaks to their character and attention to detail.
Illiteracy is a strong dis-qualifier. It’s a great indication of their competence and the pride they take in their work.
So how do you make more money by turning these clients away?
Simple. You make more money by not wasting your time with people who waste your time.
No matter how much you want the business in the here and now, taking on these clients always leads to regret.
Benefits Of Turning Clients Away Quickly
You are left with a small but well-qualified pool of potential clients to impress. The above types of people aren’t worth your time, energy, tears or late night meltdowns.
You can confidently charge what you want, and you will be paid without questions, hesitation, confusion or anger.
A client who pays $5,000 for a service that is a pain in the butt will undoubtedly take up more of your time than a premium client who is a pleasure to work with.
You lose money by taking on clients that you know in advance are walking disasters.
By turning them away, you make room for more of the clients you love so much you’d invite them to your birthday party. More isn’t always better.
It’s not only more effective and efficient for you to focus on a select few premium clients at a time at a premium price, but because you’re not working with everyone and anyone, your clients will relish the exclusivity that your frazzled competitors can’t afford to provide.
It’s not mean to be ruthless in your evaluation- it’s a common practice casually referred to as “making sure it’s the right fit.”
I’ve turned away countless potential clients because they wanted work that was out of my scope, on their short timeline and for a discounted price.
Remember, working for yourself is about both being in control and genuinely helping others. They aren’t mutually exclusive, so the sooner you realize running a circus for a business isn’t fun or going to make you millions, it’s time to change how you look at your clients.