Monday, November 14, 2005

Hiring Better Customers

When you're hiring staff, you scrutinize them carefully. You review their qualifications. You meet them in person. You want to make sure that this relationship is going to be fruitful for both of you. But when you meet a new customer, you'll do anything to make the handshake.

There is such a thing as a bad customer. They may seem appealing at first (or maybe it's just their money that's appealing). But six months later, when the project is off the rails, the phone calls just keep on coming, and the invoice is way past due, you start wondering if it's time to fire the customer and cut your losses.

Think of your customers as partners. You're going to have to work with them. They're going to be the judge of your work, and you're going to need their input to succeed. Who among your customers is someone you'd love to work with under any circumstances. Chances are they're also one of your best customers.

Here are a few things I've consistently noticed about good customers:

  • They return your calls and E-mails quickly.

  • They want to meet you in person before they'll work with you.

  • They're at their desk at 8am and 6pm.

  • They aren't looking for a bargain.

  • They know what your services are worth.


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