13 November 2007

Ten Ways to Evaluate Any Client

In any industry there are people you want to have as good clients. In a competitive creative market identifying and keeping good clients returning to your business is a matter of life and death. In a rural market, this is especially true. Your business may not have the opportunity to work with a large number of steady repeat clients. Keeping the good clients you do have will help you keep your doors open. If you are trying to decide what level a client is at, here's a list of ten criteria that will help you evaluate, or score that person as relating to your business.

This takes the evaluation out of what you might "feel" about a person due to their personality, and brings the evaluation back to a logical business perspective. Simply assign a score O-10 for each point on the list, O being no match at all, and 10 being the best possible client. At the end of the exercise you will have 'graded' your client and will have a better idea of how to work with them based on their value to your business.

1. This client never asks you to do work on speculation, or bend your professional procedures.

2. Before they call you, the client has a good idea of their budget, objective, and timeline.

3. This client is organized, provides complete information and doesn't waste your time.

4. This client is willing to provide you with adequate time for you to complete the project without stress.

5. Knows great work when they see it, and wants that level of service from you.

6. Doesn't nitpick you on tiny details or the style of your work.

7. Provides helpful criticism that helps you bring the project toward their objectives.

8. Never tells you how to do your job, but will provide a precise description of what is wrong.

9. Does not begrudge you your payment and is appreciative of you time and talent.

10. Pays promptly.


90 or above - True "A" list clients. These are people you want to work to develop a professional and long standing relationship with. They are extremely valuable both as a regular client and as a source of referrals for your business.

70 or above - Great long term client with the potential to become an "A" eventually. These people are also a great referral pipeline and should be the bulk of the customers your business serves.

50 or above - Good person to do business with. About average.

Below 30 - Consider referring this client to a competitor. This person probably brings you a lot of headaches every time you work with them. Are they costing you too much in time and stress? Are they worth keeping? What do they cost you to work with in terms of good clients you could serve with the same amount of time and resources?

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