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Red flags you’re giving to potential clients and referral sources – that are preventing them from booking or referring

Are you giving red flags to potential clients? 🚩

Let’s talk about those sneaky red flags that might be unknowingly turning off potential clients or referral sources, making it harder for new clients to book with you. It’s frustrating when you’re left scratching your head, wondering why referrals or inquiries seem to disappear into thin air. And it’s even worse when the flow of referrals and inquiries suddenly dries up.

Getting a new client is a bit like a first date. Any little hiccup or red flag along the way can make someone who was interested suddenly disappear. This is especially true for online businesses where anyone can slap up an Instagram or a website and claim to be an expert. So, let’s dive into some common red flags and how to fix them!

Red flags to potential clients by client life cycle phase

Red flags in the pre-referral phase

When someone is referred to you or discovers your business, there are a few red flags that can make them think twice:

  • Unmet expectations: If there were any misunderstandings or if you dropped the ball in a prior collaboration, they might see you as unreliable.
  • Bad-mouthing: Speaking negatively about past clients can make others think twice about working with you.
  • Complaining about work: Publicly griping about having to do your job can raise eyebrows.
  • Grammar mistakes: Frequent errors can make people question your attention to detail, especially if your work is detail-oriented.


Instead of airing grievances publicly, try to keep a positive online presence. If you’re unsure about a post, sleep on it and see if you still want to share it the next day.

Red flags in the Research or discovery phase

As potential clients check out your business, you want to make sure they have a smooth experience. Look out for these red flags:

  • Disjointed visuals: If your branding is all over the place, it can be confusing and unprofessional.
  • Lack of personal touch: People want to know who they’re working with, so make sure your picture and name are front and center.
  • Dead ends on your website: Ensure your site is easy to navigate with clear paths for visitors.
  • Lack of information: Make sure your website has clear info about your services, prices, and approach.


To fix these, work on creating a cohesive brand across platforms and keep your website informative and up to date. Want to create a website that showcases your unique value and keeps clients clicking? Enroll in Well-Oiled Website, my website creation course for business owners with Emily Writes Well.

Red flags in the Initial inquiry phase

When someone reaches out, you want to make sure you don’t scare them off. Keep an eye out for these red flags:

  • Attention to detail: Typos and mistakes can make you seem careless.
  • Tech issues: Broken links or scheduling problems can be frustrating.
  • Showing up unprepared: Being late or disorganized can give the impression that you’re not reliable.
  • Dropping the ball: Ghosting or not following through can make you seem unprofessional.


To avoid these, use a booking platform for scheduling, stay professional, and be prepared for all interactions.

Red flags in the Post-inquiry phase

After someone has expressed interest, you want to make it easy for them to seal the deal. Watch out for these red flags:

  • Delayed proposals or invoices: Promptness is key to keeping the momentum going. Need help in this department? My favorite program to send proposals and invoices, sign contracts, collect payments and more is Dubsado, and you can use my link for 20% off.
  • Bait-and-switch: Be clear and transparent about your services and pricing.
  • Lack of professionalism: Make sure your payment and contract processes are smooth and professional.
  • Overwhelming clients: Keep the process simple and clear to avoid confusion.


One of the easiest ways to keep your client process simple is by having a streamlined offer suite. If you have no idea where to start with creating your offer suite or setting your prices, check out Well-Oiled Offer Suite.

By addressing these red flags to potential clients, you can make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and making it easy for potential clients to choose you. Building a successful business is all about continuous improvement, so keep refining your approach to meet your clients’ needs.

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