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Clients We DON'T Want to Work With

Stacy Eads on February 09, 2018

Clients We DON'T Want to Work With
Yeah, that's right. You aren't seeing things—the headline really did read, "Clients We DON'T Want to Work With." Sometimes, that idea can be shocking to new entrepreneurs or managers who get giddy over every dollar because money coming in means the rent gets paid. But once you've been in an industry for 15 years and have worked with 550 customers on 100 projects every year, you get pretty good at spotting both great customers and not-so-great ones. At a certain point, you have the luxury of putting your values over cash.

At Levant, we pride ourselves on ensuring we're the right fit for the project. We don't accept everything that comes our way; money isn't our king. Customer experience is valued above all else. 

So what does that really mean, you may be asking? It's pretty simple: if a customer offers you cash on the spot, but every alarm is going off in your gut, it's probably a wrong fit. And no money in the world can buy you a good review or a great client referral if that eager, cash-ready customer is ultimately unhappy with your business relationship. Your reputation is worth more than your rent.

Here are a few things Levant's project managers and teammates identify as our "alarm bells" when it comes to clients. When a customer says or does these things, we raise a few caution flags and may need to stop for an honest, open discussion to ensure we're the best fit for that consumer:

  • Potential customers who say they went through several logos with cheap online contractors before they liked anything at all. They may have chosen poor designers, or they might be indicating that they're an indecisive customer who has trouble articulating their needs.
  • Businesses who have nothing positive to say about their past marketing firm. Or, those who have difficulties owning up to any errors or miscommunications on their part. It's true—businesses sometimes get burned by vendors. But if there was no lesson learned, then how will a company know if they're moving forward on a better path?
  • During a free, one-hour website or social media consultation, if a potential client answers with no passion, direction, or guidance, then how can we get to know them? If they don't ask us questions or show a good-faith interest in our questions, it's tough to get on the same page. A free-flowing conversation in which we're building rapport and learning about their passion for their products and services will always result in a better meeting. And a better meeting equals better ideas.
  • Clients who regularly use phrases in consultations like, "I know this is easy" or "this should be simple." These are red flags because we work to ensure you need our help and respect the expertise that comes with 15 years in our field. If a consumer is overly confident they could do the work themselves in an hour or less, then why meet with us at all?
  • One-to-one meetings with no sense of urgency or timeline in mind might be individuals just "tire-kicking" to learn a little more. Usually, these people aren't ready to act. If they ask zero questions of you during the meeting, then they haven't put much thought into what they need for their website, social media, or SEO.
  • When a company is slow to respond to meeting requests, or they postpone sales meetings multiple times, they're likely giving you an insight into their future behavior when it comes to the website design approval and content-writing process.
  • A lack of attention during meetings often results in misheard ideas or remembering details incorrectly. And if someone isn't actively communicating and listening, it's almost impossible to wind up on the same page. If a potential client answers their cell phone multiple times mid-meeting, or they're unapologetically late, then that person isn't showing much respect for the process or the vendor's expertise and time.
  • If they've got no business plan as an entrepreneur, and they're seeking an app company who can literally create everything—all ideas, processes, thoughts, money-making angles, designs, programming, testing, focus groups, launch date, etc.—how invested are they in making this project a success? Having an idea isn't enough. Levant is more than happy to help a company plan, design, program, test, and launch. But if their heart isn't in it from the get-go, how successful can the project be?
  • Some potential clients show themselves to be equal parts impatient and flaky, which is an especially unique combination. These are what we call "hot-and-cold" clients. An example: the type of person who sends 10 emails in a single day, and then doesn't respond to us at all for 10 days. This makes for an inconsistent thread of communication that results in longer timelines on projects.
  • If a company is struggling to define needs vs. wants in a budget, they're likely to need a bit more help figuring out exactly what they require.
  • Most importantly for clients who need custom programming or large databases: if they regularly display emotional reactions rather than solutions or compromises when a bump appears in the road, they might not be the best client for us. We love working with customers to achieve their dreams, but we prefer to do so in a real, honest, and trustworthy fashion. If times get tough at any point, we'll be seeking solutions—we hope our clients will be too. 
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