When you meet with a client for the first time, you’ll find they fall into one of a few categories. Two types you may find yourself meeting are the Cost Conscious Client and the Perfect Client. Here’s what you need to know to recognize both.
The Cost Conscious Client
A cost conscious client is someone who sees what you provide as a commodity. They feel the same way about what you do as they would about buying a paint chip or a loaf of bread. If someone else is charging a certain price for what you do, they’re going to expect the same from you.
One of the driving forces behind how this client makes decisions is past experience. Often, these clients have overpaid for something in the past. This makes them overly cautious about scope and cost.
If you think you may have a cost conscious client on your hands, don’t be afraid to ask “how did your last project go?” If they’ve been burned before, it will likely come out. You can use the information they provide to decide if they’re the type of client that would be a good match for you.
The Perfect Client
This is the client you want to work with! They’re familiar with the design process and they’re ready to start right away. They value design and are respectful of what you do. The perfect client is the one who needed the work done yesterday, and are willing to pay a premium above other bids to get the quality they need.
Another calling card of the perfect client is that there is something driving their decision. There’s a reason they need the work done, and they can clearly articulate what it is.
Finally, the perfect client is someone you want to work with. They show respect for what you do, they value what you can provide, and they communicate easily. All in all, they’re someone who is simply a pleasure to do business with.
Growing the Perfect Client
The perfect client isn’t just waiting out there for you to discover them. In many cases, the perfect client is created. By cultivating your clients and providing value and education, you can increase the number of perfect clients you encounter.
This doesn’t mean putting in a ton of work creating a proposal right up front. In many cases all this does is waste your time. But be generous in providing RFP templates, examples of other projects, and other materials for them to look at from the beginning. Be willing to guide your clients early on to help bring out their best.
The Bottom Line
Understanding what type of client you’re meeting with will help you quickly decide whether they’re someone you want to work with. Don’t be discouraged with you run into Fishers, Square Peggers, or Cost Conscious clients. The Perfect Clients are out there, and in greater numbers than you may realize.