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Bad and Good Clients

by in Business Marketing
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Bad and Good Clients

You get off the phone and remark to the people around you, “If I could only lose this client by attrition, I’d be a happy camper.  He’s driving me crazy.”

The next day you get off the phone and remark to the same people, “If I had ten more clients like her, I’d be in seventh heaven.”

What’s the difference?

Are the “P-I-T-A” clients slow pay?  Are they very demanding?  Do they want everything immediately?  Is their direction unclear?  Do they question everything you do or second-guess you?  Are they constantly finding fault with your pricing or other issues? 

There may be additional factors, but you get the idea. 

Now let’s address the “good client.”  

What are the characteristics that make working with her so desirable?   How well do you recognize her as a virtual prototype for additional clients?

What’s the chance you’ve even looked at your client/customer base this way?  When is the last time you listed the telltale signs of an annoying client (I’m being polite here) and how well have you defined the demographics of “ideal” clients? 

When you’ve had a client who was truly unreasonable and difficult, did you fire him or her?  Or did you continue with the relationship in the hopes that things would improve?

When you’ve met with a client who’s a pleasure to work with, have you ever offered a compliment?  If not, what’s stopping you? 

I learned years ago (the hard way) how important it is early in the prospecting stage to imagine whether or not a company would be a good fit.  I’ve determined how the personalities of the key players would mesh with mine, as I’m sure they’ve also done with me.  

Just who are your clients and customers?  How selective are you, or will you accept anyone who can write a check or offer a credit card?  Perhaps your cash flow is faltering, or business is annoyingly slow.  Desperation is a killer, however.

Prospects can smell desperation a mile away.

A couple of years ago a client told me he had been so busy during the summer that he had ignored his marketing.  Come fall, he was desperate and accepted any job that came along.  “Boy, did I pay for my foolishness!  I won’t let that happen again.”   

It pays to be careful.  

The signs are often there at the outset, and it can be costly to ignore them.



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Summer is singularly the most effective time of the year to market.  Make the most of the beautiful weather!



Adrienne was a New Jersey public speaker and business expert for over THIRTY years. Now she’s a marketing and referral consultant. Denver and Northern Colorado have depended on her since her arrival here over 12 years ago.

Consulting and speaking to business owners and executives of growing businesses throughout the United States since 1977, Adrienne Zoble has guided companies toward marketing strategies that help them work smart, not hard.