New clients are exciting additions to any business. They allow for the opportunity to grow your portfolio and expertise. But they can also bring plenty of challenges, too.
Difficult clients are common, but when you have a gut feeling the relationship isn’t going to work, it may be time to cut them loose. While it takes time to understand a new client’s expectations and build their trust, there are some red flags to be aware of when it comes to joining forces with a new prospect.
Six members of Forbes Business Development Council give advice on the warning signs to watch for when bringing a new client or partner on board. Here’s what they had to share:
1. Repeated Delays
Time kills all deals. The more the new client or partner delays decisions, keeps finding more questions to ask, makes excuses as to why not now, the more you should be concerned and that red flag should go up! – Joe Dooley
If they are frequently late, complain, have lots of things go “wrong” in their life, blame others, or are seemingly needy, they will use up too much of your time and mental energy whenever you interact with them. These types of partners or clients tend to bring drama with them, which can then escalate within your organization, costing you precious time, resources and money. – Robin Farmanfarmaian
3. Scope Creep
Beware the clients or partners that casually throw in new requests and requirements. Define what it is you are doing together or what you are providing to them in explicit, painstaking detail. If you allow things to be vague or flexible, you often find yourself in a position of a large, even massive company, squeezing every drop they can get out of a smaller/startup company. – Justin Stanwix
You are the company you keep. Skeevy clients? Partner involved in shady deals? All of these can affect how people perceive you. Knowing how your clients and partners are perceived is really important. People will make assumptions, both true and false, about you and your company based on the traits of the people you keep around you. A quick Google search is a great start. – Timothy Moore
Look for hints that the partner or client is only in it for themselves. Benefits and expectations need to be defined by both sides and there needs to be a clear path forward for a win-win. Be conscious of the language they use in negotiation discussions and observant of the way they interact and treat other partners. If it seems that they are only looking to benefit themselves, run, don’t walk! – Lisa Box, WP Engine, Inc.
6. Mismatched Cultures
Even the best partnerships take time to develop, and hiring for your own business or choosing the right partner is greatly impacted by cultural fit. As partners, your teams will be spending a great deal of time together, and for sales, service and leadership teams to work well together over an extended period, cultures need to match. – Chris Lukasiak
No Replies to "6 Warning Signs to Watch for in New Client Partnerships"