Avoiding bad clients (and finding great ones)

I read a good post this morning in Robert Middleton’s More Clients blog about avoiding bad clients and the huge amounts of time and energy they consume as you try to pursue their business. This has become more of an issue lately – after I relaunched my website, I see I’m getting more quote requests and consultation requests but most of those people turn out to be tirekickers.

How am I dealing with them? For one thing, I’m not doing any more placeholder pages. I did this for a few people and none of them have ever expressed anything but disappointment in their ‘websites’ and don’t understand why they’re not showing up on the first page of the search engine results. This has been a waste of time and money for me, so no more of those.

My minimum project is now a solid, basic 6-page site. That’s enough to get a small business started at least, and most prospective clients feel pretty comfortable with being challenged to produce that small amount of content in the beginning.

I’ve also made a change to my quote form. Under ‘Budget’ I had a ‘less than $500’ category but that’s now gone. The minimum amount is now $750, and hopefully this will dissuade the tirekickers who are looking for a $200 website.

This blog post ends on a positive note with which I agree – my favorite kinds of clients are ones mentioned, the troubled ones who are looking for reasonable alternatives and a company that can help them solve a problem, people that have been frustrated with their experiences with other web professionals, and my favorite of all, the strongly growth-focused client who has an eye on the future and will wield their website for all its marketing value. They’re willing to look at the big picture and tend to make good, long-term decisions. These are long-term clients and that’s the best kind of client to have.

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