This is a blog on a topic I have wanted to write about for a long time. It’s called: “The Cheapies are the Needies”.

I don’t know where I came across this statement, or who said it to me, but it is incredible how deeply the statement applies in the marketing world, where we’re constantly handling a large portfolio of a variety of different clients, and trying to do the best job for them.

In business, it is common to quote the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule), and say 20 percent of your clients will take up 80 percent of your time. In my professional experience at least, this ratio has always proved to be true.

A small portion of our clients take up a very large amount of our time — and they’re almost always the clients who pay the least.

Here at Mastodon Media, we don’t place a higher value on clients who pay us more money. We love all our clients. But in my experience, it is the people who don’t want to pay what you charge, who are always looking for extra deals and freebies. They are the ones who are going to want extra work done. They are the ones who are always going to be picky about the things you’re doing. They’re going to have an opinion about everything. Their `neediness’ is such that you’ll find you’re having to spend more time coddling and nurse-maiding them, when you should be out there, helping to actually market their business.

On the flip side, there are those clients who understand the value of both your time and their own. You submit a proposal to these clients and say hey, we are not the most expensive agency out there, but we are not the cheapest either. We charge a fair amount of money because we are good at what we do. People who study our proposal, see the value of the work we propose to do for them, and then let us get on with it – they’re really good clients. They do not place roadblocks in your path or second-guess your judgement, because they know you share a common goal.

The cheapies? Well, not so much… They’re always looking to get a couple of bucks off here, a couple of bucks off there, and then they’ll invariably come back and say, hey, can you spend a few extra hours doing this work for me?

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in business is saying `no’ to these cheapies. It’s a difficult call, especially when you’re starting out and you really need the money. But even after 11 years of being a marketer, I still struggle sometimes to say no to the cheapie clients.

I constantly have to remind myself that they will soon turn into nightmare clients, create more nuisance than they’re worth, and make it impossible for my agency to do its best work for them.

Time is a finite thing – you only have so much of it – and it is empowering to know you can use that time wisely by investing in clients who understand the value of your work. Judge not just which clients you are a good fit for, but which clients are the best fit for you.

Stay away from the cheapies because the ROI on servicing their neediness isn’t a healthy way to grow your company. Respect your own experience and time and go to work each day with thankfulness and passion, knowing you’re going to work for clients you actually love to do business with!

Alicia is the National Business Development Manager at Mastodon Media. She  is loud, in your face, and has a DEEP passion for making your business hum. Chances are she has an idea for your business already. She is an artist when it comes to seeing what you need, and getting the rest of us to make it happen.

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Mastodon Media is a fully integrated advertising agency based outside Seattle, WA. With more than 30 years of experience, Mastodon is one of the leading ad agencies in the region, offering a full-service approach and customized ad solutions.