When should you turn down a client?

Some clients are just not worth it

Following on from the post about sacking a client, a lot of the feedback I had was that people knew when they took those clients on that it was a mistake. Sometimes it was a gut feeling, sometimes they had more concrete indications but they all knew they were on rocky ground to start with but went ahead and accepted the client anyway.

The fear of turning down work.

There are several myths surrounding not taking on just any old client:

Myth Number One : You shouldn’t turn down work because you never know when the next job will come along.

Truth: While you’re breaking your back trying to satisfy someone who will never be satisfied you could be using that time to find more satisfying clients.

Myth Number Two: Any work is better than no work.

Truth: Doing work that doesn’t make a profit is like eating a great meal then throwing it up. It uses up your time and energy, you gain nothing and end up feeling bad.

Myth Number Three: If you do a good job, even the most awkward client will be won over.

Truth: Most awkward clients are not interested in the quality of your work. They just want to play power games, beat you down on price, get more than you quoted for or try to avoid paying altogether. This one is a double whammy because while you’re bending over backwards trying to make them happy, you’re not paying attention to your other perfectly good clients and they’ll leave but probably won’t tell you why.

What to do when your instinct is to walk away.

Walk away. Just do it. Then get on the phone and follow up on some prospects.

If the prospect jar is empty, contact your favourite clients and ask them for referrals and testimonials. Review your very best work, remind yourself how good you are then ask that client if you can use it to get you both some PR. Go networking, add to some discussions on-line, shake some trees.

Do anything. Just don’t give yourself the grief that taking on a bad client will bring you.

If you’d like to find out how to focus on finding profitable clients and growing your business with less effort, just send me an email and we can talk about how that works.

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