Your criteria for selecting clients? Yeah, something more than a pulse and a wallet?!
Not that being alive and being able to pay the bills is bad. They’re essential.
If someone were to ask you “what’s your ideal client look like?” What picture would you draw?
- Size of total budget?
- Size of budget in your area of interest? (like fundraising, a specific program type, a facilities function, etc.)
- Total personnel?
- Number of personnel in your area of expertise?
- Have they worked with “contractors” in the past in your area of expertise?
- Do they belong to your professional organization?
Are there other criteria you’d use?
Now, the big question: Does that describe the clients you have today?
- How your clients find out about your services? Do you get quality referrals or do clients pick you out of a phone book (or today’s equivalent)?
- Where do you go? Are you not traveling in the right circles to attract the clients that meet your “ideal client” criteria. (You want to work with nonprofits but you’re always at the local chamber of commerce activities.)
- Are you the “go-to” resource for your expertise? Do potential clients confuse what you say you do, with what they think you do? (You’re a printer for big jobs, for example, and they keep asking you for business cards?)
- What’s your image? Are you seen as the “beer” of your type of service, when you deliver champagne quality product?
These aren’t all of the questions you should ask. They’re just a start. Nobody knows your business better than you, so develop your own. Setting criteria for clients is essential to a successful consulting business. It’s critical because when you get the wrong clients, you’ll wish you had none at all.