How to Pull the Plug on a Prospect

Not every client that you come across is going to be one you should work with. It’s important to know who our ideal clients are, but it’s also important to know who they AREN’T.

As you begin to find ways to get leads and target your audience, you should take the time to create an “Ideal Client Avatar” with a fully developed list of aspects that your ideal client has, and commit to yourself to only work with your most ideal clients.

Next, consider making a list of attributes that a non-ideal client would have, industry wise, personality wise, income, etc. When you are composing this list, you should be thinking about previous clients you didn’t have good experience with. Chances are, this has happened to you and you want to be able to avoid it happening again.

Do some homework if you’re working with corporate clients. Check their social media, and review sites like Take any negative information you may encounter with a grain of salt and remember that it’s usually the sour grapes who will go out of their way to leave a negative review but if there’s a trend, proceed with caution.

A prospective client recently approached me about hiring me for some consulting work.

Revenues were multiple seven figures, check! I loved their business, check! But when I looked at their social media, their Facebook page was LOADED with complaints from irate clients.

Their review sites were also loaded with even madder clients. A company that treats its customers badly will also treat their contractors badly. I passed on the job.

Another client approached me, they were an exterminator company who wanted me to help them sell more of their contracts to spray customers homes and offices for bugs.

As a health conscious mom and consumer, I could not in good conscious help them sell and expose people to chemicals. I passed on helping them as well.

You don’t have to take every client that comes along. It is important that, as a consultant or contractor, that you are able to work well with your clients. You need to have similar values and similar ideas about how things get done. Compromising your own business, your ethics, your ideals, etc., is not always worth the paycheck. You want to have long term, mutually satisfying relationships with your clients.

When you do good work for a client, and they are doing good work for their customers, it can be a great experience. Don’t let yourself get into situations that are too stressful or too negative—it will impact the service that you are able to provide for your other great clients.

Always be sure to politely decline business that you do not want, and be careful to not burn any bridges. You never know when you might cross paths with that particular client again, and you certainly don’t want any negative press out there about your company! Be professional and courteous and remember that you have the opportunity to decide who you want to work with and turn away business that doesn’t meet your standards.