Working as a sales person, I’ve seen lots of people in day-to-day communications. How many times I’ve heard different thoughts from the client’s and company’s sides?
I heard them every day. Since I’m the first person who contacts our new potential customers my goal is to see both sides happy. When the client is satisfied with our job, there is nothing easier, then building long-term relations with him.
But back to the main idea. I’ve never heard about the ideal clients and if they exist at all. Of course, I tried to figure it out, maybe I missed something? Maybe my Ideal Client was near and I didn’t even notice that? To check that it’s absolutely necessary to understand, how this Ideal Client should look like. Let’s describe some personages:
The Ideal client for a developer should be a rich technical guy, who is a real fan of technologies and features. The customer and the developer should like the same technologies and be like-minded. So during the process of development, any ideas of the developer are accepted, no matter how long will it take to implement each one. And of course he’s not in a rush – for a great feature he can wait even a month 🙂 (the question is how did he make his money with such a character? Nevermind)
For a manager, the Ideal client should have specific requirements, the concrete scope of the project and be the only decision maker. If he has lots of projects then it’s even better. If he sends a full spec that is perfect inside – then it might be a favorite client of the manager. For the Ideal Client, it’s not a problem to shift the terms if someone of the team is ill or just not in the right mood to code. All in all, he will get his product as it is in the document.
For an account manager, the Ideal Client is always attentive and pleasant. He pays upfront and trusts you. Once a month or two he invites you to visit his country or city if he’s abroad. Surely he takes all the costs of the trip. He always remembers to send a bonus for your services. Every email is replied during the day. He recommends you to his friends and colleagues. It’s ok to use the most comfortable payment system, discussion of the contract is quick and clear.
Funny? Ask your colleagues how do they imagine their Ideal Client, their personages will be close to those described above. But I can hardly believe the person with the features of 1+2+3 can exist. Even if he was real, is it good to have a client, who has no business goals? You will never hear something like: “You know, I’ve got my first client today! He made a compliment to my site, thanks for your job!” or “Thanks for helping me with the project scope, those features were unnecessary, now my service is easy to use the clients say”. Nothing like: “I have an event this Friday, please, be sure you’re ready to this day.” Sometimes it helps you to realize that all the tasks have their own term and you can spend the time left for something else.
Of course, it’s always great to work with the professional, kind and intelligent person. It’s perfect to get the bonuses and hear his “Thank you! That’s exactly what I was looking for!”. But if the client makes his job good, we also have to work hard.
So I tried to change my mind – made my clients Ideal by default. And you know what happened? They started asking, how I am and how my colleagues are. They became more clear in their requirements. Finally, they let off our minor mistakes when we brought value to their business and ideas.
Do you still believe in Ideal Clients? Check the clients you have and make them Ideal for you – that’s the tip!