Getting the right clients is about as important as it gets when you are talking long term success of an agency, and long term happiness of the people at the agency.For example, we here at Fastspot don't believe in putting together excessively long and redundant...

Getting the right clients is about as important as it gets when you are talking long term success of an agency, and long term happiness of the people at the agency.

For example, we here at Fastspot don't believe in putting together excessively long and redundant project documentation during our Discovery phase, chock full of boiler plate information describing the purpose of a wireframe. We expect our clients to either know the importance of a wireframe, or be happy with our explanation of its importance in the process.

Why write a 50 page document when you can have a conversation? Well, some clients expect it, and more importantly, some clients' bosses expect them to deliver these types of things. This is an example of a client we would most likely determine is not right for us, nor us right for them. This is just one small example in a pool of many.

Learning how to sense when a client is a good match or not takes skills much akin to a matchmaker.

There are tiny innuendos and clues which begin from the moment contact is made, and you must pay attention to these clues to end up with a successful match. Hopefully, the client is doing the same, but chances are you are maybe one of only a handful of agencies they have interacted with over the years, whereas YOU have been playing ping pong matchmaker with clients since day one.

Here are a few things I look for when trying to find the right client:

  1. Do they understand what they are asking for?
  2. Do they acknowledge scope and timelines right up front?
  3. Am I dealing with a stakeholder in the project or a gatekeeper?
  4. Are they willing to engage with me on a slightly personal level, where I can infer they have contacted Fastspot because they truly want us to be their agency?
  5. Are they asking us to do things we clearly don't do or say we do? (Ex. print work)
  6. Are they asking for things in a realistic format and within a realistic timeline?
  7. Do they seem nice? I hate working for mean people.
  8. Are they looking for an set of deliverables that matches the level of quality, purpose and intention that my team creates?
  9. Are they willing to make themselves available to me or my team to get questions answered? (This initial meeting or call can go far in determining if you are a good potential match for each other.)
  10. Do they "get it"? And by "get it", I mean, well - you know, "get it". The "it" is probably different for every company.

How do you determine if a client is right for you? Have you ever missed a critical clue and ended up in a project that feels like your life is slowly being sucked out of you? If so, do tell!

Share on Twitter or Facebook Published July 28th 2010