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Today’s small business owners know that landing a new account is no small feat. It’s a competitive market out there and prospects are no longer willing to sign on with any old company. When you get that new customer, you want them to be happy. But what happens when they ask too much?

In business, there’s something called bad profit and good profit—and savvy business owners understand that sometimes the effort it takes to make a “bad” customer happy simply isn’t worth the trouble.

But since most small businesses aren’t in any position to turn down paying consumers, then why would they even think about saying “no” to a potential business contact or firing an existing one? Money is money, right?

It might help to start identifying your grade “A” business contacts to determine which ones are causing you more harm than good. Below are a few characteristics of what makes up a stellar client:

1. They Always Pay on Time

Every business owner has a group of clients who are notorious for not paying any of their invoices on time. Not only do these clients frustrate you, but they also have a negative impact on your bottom line. An “A” customer always pays on time, unlike those others who are slow to pay and disrupt your cash flow that you rely on to keep your business moving in the right direction.

2. They Listen to You

Clients come to you because they have a specific need they need fulfilled by an expert. Or else they would do it themselves, right? Despite this, there are those people who still don’t listen to your advice, and then expect you to fix everything when things go wrong. A good client will consider your recommendations—after all, you’re the expert!—and respectfully discuss any differences in opinion should they come up.

3. They Respect Your Time and Effort

Chances are you have that nightmare of a client who calls you at 8 p.m. expecting you to pick up the phone and discuss their latest brilliant idea. Or a client that acts like they’re the only client you have on your roster. An ideal customer is one who respects your time and the value that you bring to the table. They never ask for too much or make unreasonable demands, such as completing an entire marketing campaign the night before New Year’s.

4. They're Communicative

Uncommunicative business contacts who are hasty in setting deadlines, but whenever you need information, approval, or input, are nowhere to be found can be extremely frustrating. Lucky, you have excellent clients who communicate with you often and are always there when you have a question.

Amber Colley is a Business Credit Expert and Director with Dun & Bradstreet who brings 20 years' experience helping businesses of all sizes grow and prosper. She has coached thousands of business owners on establishing a business credit profile that will get them the funding, cash flow, and finance terms they need.

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