It’s very easy to get excited in your home business when you’re contacted by a potential client. You may be keen to get started right away, but remember to be cautious. Not all clients are what they seem. Our experts share their tips and tricks to make sure that each and every client they work with is legit. We hope these ideas will help!
First and foremost, you need to do your own due diligence. By researching a website and doing searches on the web, you should have a good understanding of whether or not a client is legitimate. We always ask potential clients questions about their revenue as well. If a company isn’t making money, it likely isn’t going to make sense for them to work with a marketing agency so we like to determine this right off the bat. Also, you should ask for a reference. Whether it is a vendor, customer or client, speaking with someone who already does business with the company is a good way to legitimize them.
Paul H. Cannon
- Ask for the referral source and call to check them. It is rare that someone trusts you with the big case or the big investment without
talking to someone first. Find out who recommended you and verify it.
- There are numerous online background check resources online where you can, for a relatively small fee and/or membership, check people’s background including criminal history, civil case history, residences, and vital statistics. i.e. Publicdata.com
I look at how quickly a potential client responds to a project inquiry. Anything more than 24-48 hours means they are not serious, or that they are actually a middle person rather than the actual client. Whether or not they will sign a contract for services, is an indication as well. Talking is one thing, but signing on the dotted line is something completely different.
Before I take on any client, I thoroughly research the business. The internet is a powerful tool, use google, social media, the BBB, and read online reviews. Online reviews can be very telling about a potential client. The last thing I want is to be associated with a client who has a bad reputation or is looking to make a quick buck.
James R. Nowlin
How to Make Sure a Potential Client is Legit:
- Get their contact information and check them up on Google. See how long their business has been around and if they are selling tangible products or real-world services. Click the news tab to see if there is any recent news about the company.
- Check them out on social media. Find out if they have an official Facebook page and Twitter handle and if they have a decent enough following and what these followers are saying about them.
- If the potential client’s offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
“One of the most important strategies is to follow-up with customers and clients. This is essential because not only can it significantly impact the sales and the business, but it can check the legitimacy of the potential client. Once the client is reached, their response shows a lot about them and helps us determine their commitment to the process.” — Deborah Sweeney, CEO
I check the legitimacy of every potential client that comes into my database with the following tips.
- Always have potential clients fill out a questionnaire before they speak with you. – This is a step that I’ve been doing for the past year, and it has done a great job of helping me make sure I am only getting on the phone with people who are really want to do the work. I treat my questionnaire almost like an application. So I ask the potential client questions like what their current business is, what would be their top goal as we work together, and how much income their business is currently generating. It helps to measure the energy from the very start.
- Always collect social media handles and website urls, then do your research. – Another step I take to do my due diligence is researching a potential client on the web. The truth is, we have so much information available to us now right in our pockets. It’s important that you ask for people’s social media handles and then go check out if they are actually promoting a business, utilizing their own platform for good or evil, or just making more noise online.
- Ask for references, and call them up. – This is a step I could have taken for many potential clients, and if I did I would have avoided a few horror stories in the process. Ask for references from your potential clients. The best ones would be previous coaches, current mastermind members, or people they’ve worked with either currently or in the past. You want to talk to these people and get a feel for your possible client’s level of integrity and professionalism. Do this, and you set yourself up for the win.
Notes from Leslie:
I’ve been pretty fortunate to work with great companies and people. But it is prudent to be careful. You don’t want to work on a client project only to get stiffed in the end. The above recommendations are good advice for you as you build your home business or freelance career. It’s also good if you’re looking for a work-at-home job to insure the company is on the up-and-up. Google makes it easy to research potential clients. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Finally, don’t do any work until you have a signed contract. While that won’t guarantee you’ll get paid, you’ll have an easier time proving a work relationship if you decide to take the client to court.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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