Entrepreneurs who brand their purpose and live their brand on a daily basis impact their world powerfully and serve their most enjoyable and profitable clients. Discover the often overlooked foundational elements every business must address for success. This presentation will help you: identify the foundational things that must be done before marketing can be effective, understand how branding and client experience are directly related to business success, and how to scale your business with (or without) a team you love.
How To Know When To Say No By Tiffany Hoeckelman
How to know when to say no to a potential client
A bad client.
We’ve all had them.
The one you had a nagging feeling about before they hired you.
The one who is now draining your energy, sucking your time, and you’re not making any money from.
I have certainly had a few of those in 10 years of being in business. It isn’t fun.
You might expect me to say that I wish I had been able to avoid them from the beginning. But in reality, I learned so much from those experiences.
I learned that I should Google anyone I don’t know before deciding to work with them.
I learned that I needed to have a contract in place with clients.
I learned that I shouldn’t keep working for a client who hasn’t paid me for the first project yet.
I learned what kinds of behaviors or personality types I didn’t get along with so well.
I learned what kind of behaviors were triggers for me and the red flags that indicated them.
All of these lessons made me better at vetting clients before I take them on.
All of these lessons and more have made me a better business owner.
As a virtual assistant, when you are being interviewed by a client to see if you are a fit for their business, you are likewise interviewing them to see if they are fit for your business. It’s important to recognize this, so you fill your business with clients you love and who appreciate you, not who suck you dry.
The first step to knowing if a client is for you or not is to know yourself.
You must spend some time getting clear about who you are as a business. This will do two things – it will help you attract the RIGHT kind of client. And it will help you know if you are a good fit for each other. Let’s talk about how to figure this out.
Your Core Values
The first question to ask yourself is, “What are my company values?” What are the things that are at the core of your behavior and decisions? What are the things that, no matter what type of work you’re doing will hold true for you. Mike Michalowicz, in his book “The Pumpkin Plan,” talks about them as immutable laws. These are the things that are deal killers for you. They are the rudder to the ship that is your business. They will guide you through all seasons and phases of your business.
Your Company Personality
The next question is, “What is my company personality?” What are the characteristics that make you unique? When people talk about working with you, what are the words that you want them to use? Are you assertive or soft-spoken? Are you serious or bubbly? Are you daring or more cautious?
Every business, just like individual people, has a unique personality. And just like individual people, we are attracted to people who are similar to us. So understanding our personality will help us evaluate how we might get along with prospective clients. Just as your core values are the rudder to your ship, your personality is the type of ship – are you a yacht, or are you a pontoon boat?
Your Ideal Client
And finally, who is your ideal client? This may not seem like it’s about you at all, but it really is. Defining your ideal client is about who you can best help, who you most enjoy working with, and who is willing to pay you what you’re worth. All of these things are defined by you, not them. You and your prospective client each have a work style, communication style, and even boundaries. Understanding what works for you will help define what type of person you work with best.
Are they really ready to hire you?
Once you’ve done this work for yourself, it will help you identify the red flags as they appear when you are talking with prospects. Ask questions that help you see their own values, personality, work style, communication style, and boundaries. If you see alignment with your essence, then Hooray! If you see misalignment, then pay attention to that. Ask clarifying questions, and discern for yourself if those red flags are something you can work with, or if you need to encourage them to find a better fit.
It’s ok to say no to a prospective client (even if it feels scary!). If you want a business filled with clients you love and who love you, you MUST turn down the clients who won’t so you can save room for the ones will.
I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from my past bad clients, because now each time I interview a prospect, I know what to ask, I know what to think about, and I know how to tell if we are a good fit or not.
And yes, I’ve said no to clients – nicely, of course. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to help them the way they deserved to be helped. And I haven’t had a “bad” client in several years now.
Tiffany Hoeckelman is the Founder and Leader of the Brand at Lone Orange. They help solopreneurs scale their business beyond themselves with fewer headaches and more profit. Tiffany started in business as a Virtual Assistant and holds a special place in her heart for VAs and IVAA. She can be reached at www.LoneOrange.com
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