Lower-quality clients suck. All they focus on is how little they can pay. They make unreasonable demands for the amount of work they want you to do and how fast they want it done. And they’ll inevitably ask you for the type design that you just don’t enjoy creating.
Does this sound familiar? Then chances are you have suffered from working for clients like these. We all have at some point, especially when starting out.
The Freelance Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Themes, Plugins & Design Assets
So how do you avoid working for lower-quality clients? You attract higher-quality ones. How? There aren’t any tricks involved. It’s simply adjusting your attitude and approach towards clients. You stand your ground and don’t compromise on what you’re worth and who you’re willing to work with. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to attracting higher-quality clients that you actually want to work with.
Don’t Be Desperate – Make Them Need You
The number one way to get lower-quality clients is to appear desperate. As a freelancer or business, when you scrape at the bottom of the barrel, that’s what you’ll get. You’re desperate, so you’ll take the first client you can get. Chances are, they’ll be low-quality:
- Focused on low price.
- Unreasonably demanding the quantity of work and time to deliver it.
- Wanting designs that you don’t really like to create.
Avoid desperation towards clients at all costs. Don’t be desperate – instead, make the clients need you.
When you turn the tables, you get to be selective. And when you’re picky with who you work for, you end up working with higher-quality clients who:
- Pay you what you’re actually worth.
- Agree to the quantity of work and time it’ll take to deliver it.
- Desire the type of designs you actually want to create.
When you talk to other designers who went from low to high-quality clients, they’ll said tell you the same thing: that not needing clients was the single biggest factor to attracting higher-quality clients.
Once they stopped being desperate for clients, they stopped taking on clients they didn’t want. And during email and phone conversations with clients, they would give off the impression that they didn’t need the client.
Key phrases like “if this isn’t what you’re looking for, then I’m probably not the right fit for you” or “you’re better off looking elsewhere” or “lower-cost designers would be better suited for you” were used. The clients were impressed and realized they were talking to a legit designer, not some rent-a-designer, and that made the client desire them more.
Don’t be desperate. Make the client need you. Don’t listen to the “what if I can’t get any clients” voice in your head, stand your ground, and don’t settle. Sooner than later you’ll start getting the clients that want you for you.
Don’t Reduce Rates – But Do Offer a Lower-Cost Trial
Similar to above, don’t cave in to reducing rates. When you stand your ground price-wise, the client will realize that you must be worth it – lesser designers would’ve been more desperate and worked for whatever price they could get.
When pitching to clients, don’t tell them that you can reduce rates. Say what rate you work for and leave it at that. Let the client decide if they can afford that or not – otherwise, you’ll get the lower-quality clients that chase the lowest price and nothing else.
When talking to clients, if they say that the price is too high, use wording like “I’m probably too expensive for you, so you’re better off looking for cheaper designers elsewhere”. Not only will you not settle for lesser pay, but you might actually provoke the client in a friendly way into paying you. They’ll think, hey, I’m good enough of a client, what does this designer mean I can’t afford it? And they just might end up paying you.
That’s good and all, but very few clients will pay full price for unproven talent. So if needed, you could offer a lower-cost trial. If the client is unsure, tell them that you’re willing to do the first task or project or whatever at a lower rate. Then if the client is happy with the work, they agree to pay full price for subsequent work. This way, you reduce the risk for the client while still standing your ground price-wise and attracting higher-quality clients.
It’s similar to products and services that offer a trial. You never tried the product or service before, so unless you got a personal recommendation, it’s unlikely you’ll pay full price to try it. But a risk-free, lower-cost or no-cost trial you will try. Then, assuming you love it, you’ll gladly continue using it at full price. The company can sell higher-cost premium products and services this way without compromising on cost and thus quality.
Focus Your Message on Benefits Clients Really Want
If you don’t make it clear how you can help, then you won’t be able to attract higher-quality clients who are specifically looking for that solution. So you need to crystal-clearly focus your message on the benefits that clients really want.
- When you simply say that you design websites, you’ll attract amateur clients who are looking for someone to design their website.
- But when you say that you’ll impress the client’s customers that are in this key demographic (and the client has had trouble reaching) and make them more likely to convert by buying/joining or whatnot, you’ll attract the high-quality clients specifically looking for that.
See the difference?
Focus your message on the benefits the higher-quality clients would want:
- Decide who your ideal clients are.
- Find out what problems they have that really need solving.
- Clearly say that you can help with that in your conversations.
By focusing your message on the benefits, you’ll increase the chances of those higher-quality clients paying you to do work for them.
Attract Higher-Quality Clients
When you stand your ground in not needing clients and not reducing rates, and when your message focuses on the benefits clients really want, you’ll be well on your way to attracting higher-quality clients. When you do, you’ll be able to work with clients you actually like, and you’ll get to create designs you actually enjoy making. It’s benefits for you all around: you’re happier, you make more, and your life is easier.
How else have you been able to attract higher-quality clients?
All images from chuckchee’s Portfolio on Shutterstock.