How to Easily Recognize and Discover Your Best Clients
On the second day of The Small Business Breakthrough Bootcamp there is a slide that asks WHO ARE YOU GOING TO SELL TO?
Prior to attending the Bootcamp, when we ask “Who is your customer?” I am always amazed because so many business owners say that “It’s simple, whomever calls or walks through the door is a customer.”
While that may be true for a small segment of retailers like a fast food restaurant or a corner gas station which only get their clients because of geographic proximity, for those of you developing a relationship with a client, not a one-time service, finding the right client takes more effort.
Whether you are a realtor, website developer, doctor, lawyer, financial manager, or any business person on the look out for long term repeat clients here are some things to keep in mind.
While football referees throw a yellow penalty flag when a player does something wrong, in business we need to recognize the Red Flags or Flashing Red Warning Lights: those warning signs we may easily ignore in our desire for new business. What we have found is that a thorough vetting at the beginning of your relationship with that client may save you time and save you money not so far down the road.
Some time you may have a flag waving just by listening to what a client says, or the way they talk about their business:
- There is the potential client who tells you “My friends say this is a five-million-dollar business.”
- Or the potential client who tells you “The last three (fill in the professional service) I spoke to were totally useless.”
- There is the client who asks you to reduce your fees at the beginning and then also asks again after receiving a later bill.
- Many realtors will recognize the client who cannot make a decision: “I have seen 72 houses, but none were quite right.” OK…. so, we looked in at least that many before we moved to Sedona.
- Some lawyers may accept a client who likes to sue people and has been involved in litigation against his former doctors, attorneys, brokers, accountants etc. (Lawsuits against contractors do not count, those are usually a given);
- Many consultants and coaches have met the potential client that asks if, rather than getting paid up front for your work, you could wait till she makes the movie, play, or sells her book and then pay you from profits. The trouble is, you are now a partner without the decision making ability.
- And the notorious potential client that is asking for free advice saying: “I will have a lot more work for you in the future.” Or “I would like to honor you by getting your advice.” OR – “I would like to meet you for coffee to pick your brain” (they NEVER, pay for your coffee). When I was selling advertising, my favorite was “If it works, I will be your best customer.” Even when it did… they weren’t.
How do you avoid these and other challenges?
When you audition a new client, make sure you look at all the factors that make a client a GREAT client. Create your list of necessary characteristics.
Here are a few: their service, their benefits, their demographics match your ability to serve and, of course, there is also the ability to pay (hey, SOMEONE has to remind you that getting paid is important).
While not all of these necessarily disqualify a potential client, they should give you pause to evaluate the situation and determine if this is the right client for you. Listen to that voice that may be SCREAMING at you and you failed to listen to… it’s probably right.
Let’s talk about what makes YOUR best clients. Head to www.FreeMarketingConsultation.com so we can discuss your needs and how you can satisfy your client’s needs at the same time.
PS This is one of our best cients: