Wouldn’t it be great if clients came with warning labels? - Known Design Co

Wouldn’t it be great if clients came with warning labels?

October 3, 2022

How do you know if a client is going to be trouble? Red flags, people! Know them. Spot them. Run screaming.

Seriously though, it’s nigh impossible to tell from the get-go that a client is going to turn into the nightmare before breakfast. Or is it? Maybe red flags are flying but we’re just not seeing them in the chaos of our self-branding, rebranding, and influencer culture. So much to see and (some would argue) not a thing worth watching.

Thing is, we all have to wave our flags, and the more enthusiastically the better. How else can anyone know that we’re legit? If your business isn’t on social media sharing authentic insights and valuable must-have, how-to, why-to, do-it-like-this-and-do-it-now posts, what are you doing with your time?

Social media promotion is now a necessary evil

So says someone named Brooke Erin Duffy. She seems qualified to make this observation – she’s only a Ph.D. Associate Professor at Cornell University who studies the interrelationships between media, technology, and society. You can see her flags here.

Social media promotion is everywhere, not only in your wildest dreams but also on every channel and platform known to (wo)man.

That’s just a roundabout way of saying, do it or die. No matter if you’re peddling spark plugs or new sheets for friendly ghosts, you better be hustling on social media.

Whether you’re buying or selling, there’s another reason you should keep your eye on social media.

3 of the most frightening words in the English language: Leave A Review

Satisfied clients are no longer the key to success. Nope. They have to tell everyone how satisfied they are. Otherwise how will anyone know your business is any good?
But there are some clients you’ll never be able to satisfy, no matter how hard you try. And when (inevitably) they are not satisfied — and you are so exhausted from trying that not even a triple espresso will give you the will to live — they leave a bad review. For everyone to see. Over and again.

The best cure? Choose your clients with care.

Which brings us back to red flags

On the list of Things I Wish I’d Known, here are 3 red flags to keep a lookout for:

  1. They demand the shade but won’t pay for the tent pegs. This is the client who has no clue what goes into providing your services, or flat-out knows they can’t afford them and is going to take a chance anyway. A rookie error is to carve up your service or product in order to sell them only the bits they want. You’ll be putting undue pressure on the delicate clockwork of your business. (I can hear the twang! from here.)
  2. My way or the highway. This is the client who expects you to change your business to get theirs. The problem is that they know no boundaries – once they have you jumping through hoops to accommodate them, they will expect nothing less. The minute you resist – and at some point you’ll have to resist or you’ll be all helicopter-arms as you’re pushed over the edge – they’ll broadcast how bad your business is becoming.
  3. When social media says, Back away slowly & no-one gets hurt How to spot genuine red flags in a sea of hype? Multiple bad reviews. But here’s something to consider, how have they responded to the reviews? If they’ve been ignored, it’s a bad sign. If they’ve made excuses, it’s even worse. If this is how they treat their bread-and-butter, bow are they going to treat a B2B supplier?

Bonus question

How often were you too busy flying your own flag to take a proper look around before you signed away your happiness? Top tip: look at reviews before you leap.