Once you’ve spent time working as a virtual assistant, you’ll get potential customers coming to you. This is exciting because you’ll spend less energy and time on marketing and more on simply serving your customers.
But just because someone reaches out, you shouldn’t automatically accept them into your client roster. VAs should always take the time to vet potential clients. This can keep you from working with clients that turn out to be a headache or worse, one that won’t pay your invoices.
Here’s how to check up on potential clients:
Ask other service providers
If you know your potential client has worked with other service providers like a content marketer or social media consultant, ask them how they enjoyed the experience.
Don’t tag a service provider on Facebook or call them out by name on Twitter. Most service provides aren’t willing to publicly talk about their clients. Instead, send service providers a direct message. Assure them that you’ll keep whatever they tell in confidence whether it’s good or bad.
If you do hear something that makes you think the potential client won’t treat you right, simply decline the project. You can say, “While your project is interesting, it’s not right for me at this time. I wish you luck finding another virtual assistant!” Or better yet, give them a few names of virtual assistants they can contact.
Search for them
Look up your client on search engines. You can use quotation marks to make your search easier. For example, look up “D. Howard” or “Howard’s Consulting Firm”. You may also want to add the word complaints or scam to your search query, like this: “D. Howard complaints”. This will usually show any dirt your potential client has tried to bury.
When you’re searching for your potential client, you’ll probably see their website appear in the results. Take a moment to review their site. You can learn a lot about a potential client from the tone they use on their website and how they respond to comments.
Check their social behavior
Potential clients that are rude on social media or bully other users are not going to be enjoyable to work with. Instead, look for potential clients that handle conflict respectfully and are eager to resolve complaints.
Keep in mind some potential clients are socially savvy. They know how to make their brand look appealing on the surface of social media. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover their shady side. Avoid these clients or you’ll risk getting painted with that brush.
Above all, listen to your gut
Sometimes, you look into a potential client and there’s nothing wrong. They have a great website. They behave responsibly on social media. They always pay their service providers on time. But you still can’t shake that nagging feeling.
Don’t ignore it. You have an inner compass warning you that this client isn’t right for you. Trust that for whatever reason, your intuition is right.
You may also have a potential client contact you and know instantly you’ll love working with them. Sometimes, you can sense before a project starts that it’ll be perfect for you. If you know that, then go for it!
There are a lot of awesome clients out there and only a few bad apples. But one bad apple can sour you, so be sure to do your research before you agree to a contract. Another great option is to offer a 30 day trial to ensure you are both a fit to work together. That way each of you have a way out if things are just not going well.
Share Your Story…
Have you ever had a gut feeling about a potential client? What did you learn from the experience?