Today we’re going to get back to discussing the clients you choose to work with.

After a prospect has answered my initial email questions (which you can get in my book) I move to a call with them. The sole objective of this call is to see if we’re a good fit.

When I go into these calls, one of my main goals is to actually prove the prospect is not a good fit for me. Now of course we have bills to pay so that may seem a bit odd, but we should only want to work with prospects that are amazing fits for us.

Prospects that want to move their business forward in a way where we can provide huge value for them.

We want this but…

Earlier this year I had a prospect reach out. Actually I had a staff member at a company reach out as part of their job. They said that they wanted a new eCommerce site and wanted to generate more sales. They talked about using social media and blogging as a way to do marketing.

After looking at the site I knew that unless they wanted to make a serious investment in this marketing they were going to have a hard time seeing a real return on the cost of building the site. So during the call I challenged them specifically on how much time/money they were really willing to invest.

[Tweet “Challenge your prospects to make sure they are going to put their work in”]

When it came down to brass tacks the employee figured that what would happen is that the boss would talk about wanting to do it and then not give anyone enough time to actually do the content marketing or social media work that would be needed.

If that were the case, they were never going to see a return on the work they wanted me to do.

The Challenge

I would not have been able to make that assessment if I had not challenged (in this case, forcefully) this prospect to commit to the work. In fact, if they had hired me, I was going to spell out their role in my contract. That’s how strongly I felt about their commitment to the marketing.

[Tweet “Are you missing vital information because you didn’t challenge your prospect?”]

It was only after I specified that my contract would include their commitment to properly market the site — with penalties if they failed to do so (since I’d be getting paid based on sales) — that they admitted they were unlikely to actually do the marketing, nor would they pay to have it done by someone else.

Without that challenge I would have gotten myself in a position where I was working on a less-than-profitable project because my success was tied to customers that really didn’t want to do the work.

That’s a bad project all around.

That’s not where any of us should be with our work.

Don’t be afraid to challenge prospective clients with goals. Make them work to prove that they’re really the right clients for you. Be bold.

Make a commitment to only work with your ideal client.

photo credit: julochka cc