Working for a variety of Public Relations and Marketing firms I saw firsthand how clients were either chosen or accepted.
If you choose a client it means you either feel you can offer value to their business or you like that they have deep pockets. Hopefully for the sake of your business it is the former and not the latter.
If you accept a client it means you aren’t sure if you can offer value to their business but you like that they have deep pockets or that that they simply have pockets.
In my opinion, accepting a client is unethical, bad for your business and bad for their business.
A lose-lose-lose you might say.
Now that I have been in business for almost 2 1/2 years, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how to choose the right clients. This came from experience at other firms prior to Final Piece (as mentioned above) and from having to deal with the difficult decisions of selecting clients on my own.
Hopefully my history will help with your future.
Choosing the Right Clients
1) Don’t Accept Business because it’s Business – If you have someone call you that is dead set on spending $10,000 on local advertising and you either A) don’t believe that is going to help their business or B) don’t have the right experience to match the job – send them on their way.
2) Personalities Matter -When you meet with a potential client you need to really focus on getting a feel for the type of person they are. This person is going to be spending their money on your services and will expect you to be at their beck and call. Make sure you will be able to handle those calls with energy and enthusiasm. If you think they aren’t a match for your personality – don’t take the business.
3) Believe in What They’re Selling – If you simply feel that their product or service isn’t one that will be successful you need to tell them so. It will likely upset them, but you will avoid taking a considerable portion of the blame when the ship goes down.
4) Make Sure the Enthusiasm is There - I can tell you right now that if you aren’t excited about the client then you won’t do a good job for them. They want to trust you with increasing their bottom line and are willing to pay for your expertise. If you can’t get excited about that - move along.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Send Them Elsewhere- Their business may seem amazing but you think your acquaintances at [INSERT FIRM] would be a much better fit. Tell them that and then contact that firm and let them know you set one up for them. Good will always comes back around. At some point, that firm will do the same.
Some folks might find it difficult to pass up business and the dollars that follow because they need money. I get that. The economy has been bad, jobs of been scarce, et. al.
But I beg you. Pass it up.
Wait until the right fit comes along.
I assure you it will.