A new business owner can get so caught up in making a great first impression that she may overlook any signs that her prospective client is not a good fit for her business.

Don’t make the mistake of being so keen to get your foot in the door that you think you can somehow work it all out during your meeting.

This is seldom a recipe for success.


Sign #1. Your prospect cannot define their specific challenges


From the outset you should know what challenges your prospect is facing.

Your purpose is to match your value to your customer needs.

You must know whether it is possible you’ll make a good fit before you schedule an initial consultation.

Without this knowledge the meeting could turn out to be a complete waste of time for you, and your prospect.


Sign #2: Your prospect is more focused on asking than answering questions


In an effort to establish whether you can work together to produce the desired outcome, you, as the service provider, should be the one gathering information and asking most of the questions, then listening actively to your prospect’s responses.

It’s normal to be asked a few questions but, if you leave the meeting feeling like you have been put through the wringer, most probably you will never hear from your prospect again.


Sign #3: You sense your prospect is “shopping around”


If your prospect starts to drop the names of other businesses who offer similar services to yours, this is a sign that he or she is shopping around.

Of course you expect them to compare service providers, but if they have been shopping around for ages and still not made a decision, this is a warning sign for how they do business.

One of the biggest challenges you will face working in the service industry is indecisive customers.

Customers who are indecisive about taking a service or a product you have to offer have the potential to turn into headache clients.

They tend to overanalyse everything and hold up progress on your efforts.


 Sign #4: Your prospect doesn’t seem serious about making a commitment


After you’ve been in business a while you will see there is a pretty clear process that results in a signed contract and the commencement of services.

A really big warning sign of a problem client is one who has no idea of when they would like to start their project.

They are just testing the waters to see whether or not your services will give them the answer they are looking for.

You want to work with clients who have already gone through this process and are ready and determined to get their show on the road.

They have a clear start date in mind.


Sign #5: What they need is not what you provide


The final warning sign to watch out for is when your gut tells you that your services are not the answer to their problems.

There may be many reasons why this is the case.

Perhaps you cannot quite put your finger on it, but trust your instincts and be honest with them.

Perhaps you might be able to point them in the right direction but, whatever you do, do not take on a client who is not a good match.

Be discerning.

You want to enrol into your business clients who hold similar values to you.

Clients who are easy to work with, and for whom you know you can produce outstanding results.