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How To Tell a Bad Fit Client

In the classical understanding of sales, a sale is always more profitable than a potential client “walking away”. In professional “fit seeking” process a bad-fit client is always worse than no client at all, given that you can pay your bills of course.

A bad fit client:

  • wants a discount even to consider buying
  • asks for shorter-than-reasonable delivery time
  • wants to be able to contact you at less-than-reasonable hours
  • wants to hire expert opinions, but also micromanage the work
  • expects you to provide time sheets and other employee paraphernalia

It’s improbable that you will be able to deliver the future value these clients expect and trying to do that will ultimately cost you more than they are worth. They are better left for big businesses who get them in line through their strict processes or whoever else wants them badly enough.

Bad-fit clients act as they do usually because of personal experience with commoditized service providers, and also professionals who either have no choice or simply don’t know any better.

Because of that experience, most of them will expect you to try and win their business and will get confused if you politely ask whether they would like to be referred to a colleague instead. Some of them will respect you more for it, and others could resent you, but the result of turning them away is always better than a “forced”, bad-fit sale.

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