When I first started, I worked with every client that came my way.
I accepted the low ball rates, late night calls, ridiculous requests, and rushed timelines.
I was burnt out and underpaid.
The following year, I told myself I was going to work with better clients.
So I started doing cold outreach (e-mails and DMs) and really focused on my marketing.
From getting 3 inquiries every quarter, I was hopping on sales calls every week.
Sounds like a dream, but it was actually a nightmare.
I didn’t work with any of them.
I ended up spending HOURS taking calls and writing proposals for clients who:
Couldn’t afford me
Didn’t actually value branding
Were pretty rude
And it was all my fault.
This means I didn’t check if they were a good fit FOR ME.
So now, I’m going to share what I do to avoid this.
To filter out the good from the bad, we need to know what makes a qualified client.
For me, that’s usually based on:
Their spending power (can they invest in me?)
Their personality and values (do they pass my vibe check?)
Whether or not I can help them (am I the right person?)
Project goals and challenges (do they have a problem big enough for me to solve?)
I identify some of these even before I hop on a call with them.
How? Through a questionnaire on my TidyCal Discovery Call link.
(Feel free to swipe it 😂)
Questions I ask to identify their spending power:
To which category does your business fall into based on its revenue?
How long have you been in business?
Do you have a team? If so, what are their roles?
Questions I ask to identify their challenges:
What are your big business goals for the next 6 months?
What are your expectations for this call?
I qualify them even further during the Discovery Call.
Here, I ask more about:
How branding can help them
What they want to achieve from the engagement
How this impacts their business
What’s stopping them from achieving their goals and their challenge around that
I used to be afraid of talking about money. I thought it might look cheap and desperate.
When I get asked about my rates, I would beat around the bush
“Umm… Well… It really depends on each client and project. I don’t have the same rate for everything…”
That’s because of these 3 things:
I was emotionally tied to my rates
I based my rates on what I can afford (a big no no)
I was just guessing my rates
But now, I can easily drop a high number during the Discovery Call and negotiate without batting an eye.
Our clients will only approve our rates if it makes sense for their business.
Same goes for us. Our rates should be based on an amount that makes sense for OUR business — this means it’s no longer emotional or personal.
So how can we make our rates make sense to us?
It doesn’t go above our expenses,
It allows us to profit, and
It allows us to sustain our business.
But Patty, how do I know this?
Know your production expenses by tracking:
How many hours it takes to render a service
The cost of rendering your service (your hourly burn rate)
If you’re outsourcing, how much their rates are.
What about profit? A healthy mark-up is 30% 🙂
The reason why I was hopping on calls with so many unqualified clients is because I was reaching out to the wrong people.
It’s a simple mistake that so many make, especially when we’re starting.
We think that we have a better chance working with small or new business owners.
In reality, they’re actually the hardest to negotiate with 😅
Why start small when you can start big?
So when connecting with prospects online, I look at:
How long they’ve been in business
How regularly they post
How much they’ve made/how much they charge (surprisingly, a lot loves to announce this)
Know my qualifiers
Don’t be afraid to talk about your rates
Speak to the right people
It's that simple!