When you’re running a service business, client fit often falls by the wayside, no matter how long you’ve been in business.
When you’re a new service business, there’s the temptation to take on every client that pays. Even if you may not want to work with a client, you might say yes just to get revenue flowing. (We’ve all been there!)
But, if you’re an established business, there’s the fear of shifting who you serve. Maybe you’re bringing in a stable income with clients who were really exciting to work with back in the day… but now the work doesn’t quite light you up like it used to. Or, maybe your existing client base doesn’t align with your vision for the future.
Whatever the reason, that awkward twinge in your gut is your body telling you to think about client fit. Paying attention to client fit benefits your business, and starting now will bring you more peace and profit in the year to come.
Client fit builds an audience that’s absolutely right for you.
It feels scary to say no to bad-fit clients when you’re new. It’s even scarier to start building a new audience when you’re comfortable with the one you have.
But, when you think about where your business could be a year or two from now, do you want your inbox to be full of inquiries from this type of client? If you don’t want that, but you keep saying yes to them anyway, you could end up growing an audience you never wanted in the first place.
You’ll save time by ensuring a clear and respectful relationship.
Even when a client needs what you have to offer, the client fit could fall short in other ways:
- Do they work in an industry that doesn’t fit you, or that you even find to be… boring?
- Does the client expect you to be available 24/7, or outside of business hours?
- Are they asking for fast turnarounds or last-minute changes that you aren’t able to easily accommodate?
- Do they micromanage you when you’d rather be given creative freedom?
- Do they want to be totally hands-off when you prefer to build a more collaborative relationship?
When a client’s needs don’t align with your work style, you take on a bigger headache than you would for a client who fits you well… and you won’t even get paid more for your trouble! Sounds like a bum deal, doesn’t it?
Paying attention to client fit means that you’ll have a client who understands what you need from them and respects your boundaries. You get paid and get to work with someone delightful!
Client fit builds the potential for more ideal clients to come through with less effort from you.
If you’re building a referral-based business, it’s even more important to pay attention to client fit! When your existing clients refer others to you, they’re most likely to refer you someone who’s just like them.
Think about it: if you just wrapped up working with the Client From Hell, would you want them to send you even more clients like them? Whether working with them was boring, frustrating, or just more than you bargained for, you know you don’t want to do it again.
On the flip side of that, if you just finished your work with an ideal client who was absolutely lovely to work with… do you want them to tell all of their like-minded friends and colleagues about you?
I think I can guess which option sounds better to you. 😉
It doesn’t have to be hard to assess client fit, either.
Not sure whether you have the bandwidth to suss out whether a client fit is pitch-perfect? Even a brief conversation with the client can give you enough information to feel sure in your choice, or enough red flags that you know to pass them onto someone else. Spending that 15 minutes of time up-front could save you hours upon hours of time and frustration!
How can you shift your marketing or your consultation process to start making sure those dream clients come thru?