Yes, there was a time I did take any client with a pulse, even some without. Thankfully those days are gone but I wish somebody had written (or that I had read) an article like this when I started my company 3 years ago! Here are things to watch for when you’re sizing up a prospect and considering working with them.
1. They are not ready for you
Once I had a client who wasn’t even sure she had a business. It was more of a favour she was doing for her unemployed sister who needed the income from a business but neither were really invested in the business. I couldn’t help them because even though they hired me, they wouldn’t implement any of my suggestions. They were too timid, too afraid and too resistant to change. Can you predict how this one ended? The wealthy sister went back to her retirement and spoiling her grandkids. The unemployed one found a job. What did I do? I learned a good lesson to not work with people who aren’t ready for me.
2. They have money mindset issues
When I meet a client who seems overly concerned about price or who expresses negative opinions about sales or being sold to, I have learned to walk quietly and quickly out of the conversation. It’s taken me years of self-work to get over my own fears around risk and money and for those who are open and willing to work on their same issues, I’m there but I am not a mindset coach. So if I sense that they have money mindset issues that they’re not willing to overcome, they are not a good fit.
3. They hit on you
Yes, this has happened and the one time I didn’t listen to my instincts and thought that clearing the air with conversation would allow me to keep working with the client (see money mindset issue above), it bit me so hard that I’m still paying for that mistake. Luckily there was no violence or anything like that involved (thank God!) but it still hurt my business and my self-confidence for a time. If someone does this to you, refund refund refund before they can say ‘where do I sign?’
4. They are unprofessional
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that how we do anything is how we do everything. Lack of responsiveness, late arrivals, chronically cancelled appointments, these are all symptoms of bigger problems you may not be equipped to deal with. These will hurt your results with that client and your reputation is not something you can pay to upgrade. You want successful superstars walking around, bragging about working with you.
5. They have hired 10 coaches before you and never got results
When people blame coaches, circumstances or anything other than themselves for their results, run far and fast. Every coach teaches us something, even the bad ones. As my coach David Neagle says, “if somebody wants badly enough to succeed, they will do it by using what they learn from any coach–good or bad!”
So the next time a new prospect looks at you with a twinkle in their eye, size them up first and then make your decision.
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