Everyone works differently, and your customers probably come with many different qualities. But what are some of the most common characteristics in clients, and more importantly, what features does a desirable client hold?

Find out what client characteristics are and how they could affect your business in this article, including:

  • Client red flags
  • What characteristics to look for in clients
  • The importance of defining your ideal client

Client red flags

When you’re focused on growing your business, you might be eager to take on all the clients you can get, assuming that more clients mean more success. But, dealing with the wrong customer might make you wonder if their custom is worth the hassle.

Bad clients could also influence your business, possibly in a negative way. You could pour significant resources into these clients without any substantial rewards. 

Some of the less desirable characteristics to watch out for in clients include:

  1. They try to get extra services or discounts but refuse to pay more

If they make demands that go outside the scope of the agreed-upon work or ask for special favours or free resources, they’re likely going to be more trouble than they’re worth. 

If they try to haggle your price but expect an all-hands-on-deck approach from you at the same time, they will probably be your least profitable clients because they take up so much time and effort. 

  1. Their expectations are unrealistic, or they don’t know what they want

If a client comes to you with wildly unrealistic expectations, you will likely have to work extra hard to rein them in. If you don’t manage their over-the-top expectations successfully, they could blame you for not achieving the results they wanted. 

When a client doesn’t clearly understand what they want, you could end up spending a lot of time on back-and-forth or having to redo the work. If clients haven’t assessed their needs properly, they could also be unaware of estimated costs and could disappear when they learn the price.

  1. They bad-mouth previous service providers

Sometimes there can be a good reason for criticism, or your client is simply venting about something that went wrong with another business in the past. But if your client seems only to voice their concerns and issues, it could mean they are simply impossible to satisfy.

If the client is more inclined to create conflict than work with you towards solutions, they could be unhappy with the outcome regardless of how good your work is. Furthermore, if they have a habit of complaining, they could leave you a negative review or share their grievances on social media, which could seriously damage your business. 

  1. They make it personal and cross boundaries

Small business success is all about building personal relationships with customers. But the line between business and personal life can be a delicate one. It’s probably best for yourself and your clients to keep your work and personal life separate.

Clients who cross the boundary and make things personal can negatively impact your well-being and your business. For example, if a client expects to contact you around the clock or treats you like their therapist, it could end up being draining to work with them.

Similarly, if a client has complaints about your work but ends up criticising you personally, it could mean that they will not respect your professional boundaries.

What characteristics to look for in clients

Now that you know some of the red flags let’s look at some characteristics that make a good client.

  1. Their expectations and budget is realistic

Clients who have realistic expectations for your work are potentially a lot easier to work with because they’ve probably already done their homework, know what they want and have an understanding of potential costs. 

Your job will be so much easier when you see eye to eye on important details like the budget and end goal of the project.

  1. They participate in the process but trust your expertise

No matter how good you are at your job, you can’t work in a vacuum. You’re probably going to need your client’s input to complete a project. 

When your client is proactive about moving the project along and communicates their wishes and ideas clearly, you’ll likely find it a lot easier to stick to deadlines and create a result that they’ll love. 

  1. They don’t haggle the price and pay on time

Late payments can negatively affect your business if you end up unable to cover your work costs on time. Following up with clients about unpaid invoices is time-consuming and creates unnecessary stress.

Similarly, constantly lowering your fees for customers who don’t want to pay the full price could put a severe dent in your profits. 

Good customers appreciate the fact that you have expenses to cover. Receiving your payments on time will allow you to be stress-free and run your business efficiently. 

  1. They trust you and are open to advice

When your clients trust you and respect your expertise, you won’t have to swim against the stream and justify every little decision you make. 

Your client might have an idea of what they want when they first approach you, but being able to take your advice on board will make working with them so much easier. 

The importance of defining your ideal client

Defining the characteristics of your customers will enable you to market to your ideal clients more effectively. 

Knowing the characteristics you want in someone you work with might help you decide whether to onboard a client or save your resources for a better one. 

Having a clear idea of what your ideal client looks like allows you to choose the best projects for you. These could be projects that help you to grow and develop your skill set instead of holding you back.

Working with a client who knows what they want and has a sufficient budget and reasonable expectations means your project is more likely to succeed. In addition, doing high-quality work could enhance your reputation and help bring in more clients. Learn more about the best ways to attract new customers here

Save time on admin with a simple app and focus on building client relationships 

Client relationships can be tricky to navigate and can often take up a considerable amount of your time.

Thousands of business owners are using the Countingup app to save time on their financial admin and focus on building better relationships to grow their business. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for self-employed people across the UK.

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.