There are lots of micro client experiences and client attitudes. But we can broadly divide clients into two attitude or approach categories, the value type client and the price type client.
The value client understands and appreciates the value of the work, the expertise, experience and what it takes to get to the level of quality delivered. They see that you distinguish yourself from the others in the same game and offer the value and quality you believe in.
Value clients are interesting. They are eager to pay for your work and will even chase you for your invoice. They will push you, demand the best. But they will value what you do. And when they are not happy, most won’t fight or attack. They will ask, investigate, express their dissatisfaction and call for improvement. They often don’t see you as an independent outsider, but a part of their team and they are a part of you, your business. They see value in others, not just monetary worth.
The price client sees money and only money. They want to pay the least they can but will want better than what they pay for. The price client won’t drop their own prices but would want you to drop yours. They will only compromise out of desperation.
Price clients will milk you for everything they can, they will interrogate the invoice and ask about every item, you’d have to justify and defend.
Your work, the work that makes them better, makes them money. They will question and demand that you explain what something is for and why it costs so much. Not why it’s that valuable. When it is that valuable. They only see value in their own, not in others.
Often, price clients will be happy to spend money on themselves, feathering their nests, the car they drive, the wine they drink, the food they eat. Only the best. But when it comes to business, they go for the cheapest. Not more affordable, the cheapest they can get away with. They argue that they deserve the best for themselves and rationalise that pushing service or product providers for the cheapest is just business.
But business is about relationships, not just product and money. The price client often has a high turnover of both staff and service providers. Why would anyone stay if they are under-valued and exploited?
We often take price clients on because times are challenging and any port in a storm will do. That is future-blind though, Price clients will sap more energy and productivity than what they are paying for in real terms. You spend time and energy managing their challenging behaviour instead of earning income from that time and energy.
Pick value clients and reduce price clients.