This weeks blog is all about finding yourself the correct customer. In the business marketing world, we deal with a variety of different sized businesses and business owners on a day to day basis. We’d like to share a few things that may be helpful in solidifying your business relationships.
Ever have a customer that wants to purchase from you then decides to go elsewhere, or worse yet to a direct competitor? How about a customer who always knows better than you about certain elements within your field? Constantly feeling on edge about dealing with one of, or a few specific clients? What about a customer that either pays late or not at all?
Most of us in business have dealt with one of the above scenarios (or many other issues not listed) at least once, if not several times. Not every client you pick up is going to be the best, most spectacular, awesomely phenomenal, magnificent, all amazing customer! You will run into issues every now and again, but this blog will give you a little ammo in deciding who to work with and who to not.
Weeding out problem customers is a difficult thing to do especially if you really need to pick up the account and/or the money. Bills need to be paid, the business needs to continue to operate, employees need their paychecks on time, and the doors need to stay open. We get it. You have to begin to look past this though, no matter how hard it is. There a few minor tactics you can begin to implement that will increase the quality of the customers you are servicing, which in return will tremendously increase the quality of your sales and eventually improve your business. Here are a few ways to make your life and potentially your business much better:
Interview Potential Clients
Yep. You read that right! Conduct your own silent interview when discussing the potential of working together. It is in the beginning of your new business relationships that you can also begin to key in on certain factors that will determine if they are the right customer for you for the long haul. Create a list of traits that you’d like to know about them, how they conduct their business or personal life (if you are dealing with individual customers,) who they are connected to, who they know, their demeanor, or other qualities that you’d find attractive in developing this working relationship with. It doesn’t matter if they are paying you huge globs of money if they are difficult to deal with or creating sleepless nights for you.
Be specific early. Explain that you normally do not work on Saturdays or Sundays due to the kids soccer matches, or other family oriented events. Let them know immediately that you do not respond after 8:00 PM or whenever you shut down for the day/night. Discuss certain factors in pricing and set the bar that these prices are not negotiable (unless of course they are for you.) Be open, honest, and as helpful as you can be but let them understand there are limits. Truly great customers will understand and probably respect you more.
Explain Pricing and Payments in Full Detail
This should go without saying but all of your contracts and payment plans need to be laid out on the table and in the open. Slimy businesses hide fees and charge customers additional monies through fine print, so don’t be one of them. No handshake or verbal agreements will help you in the event of legal issues, so make it all contractually binding and easily understood. You should then go over everything step by step with your customer for what you expect and what they can expect.
Communication is Key
If you are like us, a constant communication is needed about the processes involved in your industry. Payments, length of time for projects, and any issues that arise should be discussed in detail and is very important in making the relationship go smoothly. Be straight forward and ask customers directly “if there is a problem can I contact you or your team and get a timely response?” Ask, “What is your turn around response time on emails, texts, or calls?” Communication is one of the most important factors in any relationship. Communicating effectively can also be the difference in making or breaking relationships.
There you go. The next time you sit down to contract new work or meet about a new project to take on remind yourself that it’s not always about the money. If you truly believe in what you do, the service or product you offer, and your work ethic and morals, then take into consideration WHO is your correct customer. It may help you and your client form a much stronger bond…and who knows where that may lead?!
Analyze. Create. Achieve.
77 Design Co.