When I say “your best customer” or “your ideal client,” who comes to mind and why? What kind of customers are your most profitable and what makes the relationship work so well for both parties? I’ll bet it has a lot to do with trust and consistent fulfilment of that trust – order after order or month after month. Mutual trust and commitment can lead to a healthy kind of laissez-faire attitude from your clients concerning their ongoing patronage of your business. They let you do your job without interruption or interference because you are effectively doing your job. Don’t you just love that kind of relationship in business?
Have you ever heard someone categorize the quality of their client relationships using A, B and C, with A being the smooth sailors and C being, let’s say, the high maintenance group? What if you could shed all of your C-customers and replace them with A’s and B’s, or even all A’s? Or what if you could convert your C’s to become B’s and eventually A’s? Wouldn’t that be nice? It would certainly be a tall order but it’s possible if you have a good relationship to start with.
Everyone Includes Anyone!
How narrowly you build your brand and market your products & services determines whether or not you attract the kind of clients that you can serve most profitably. If your target audience is “everyone with money who can use what we sell,” you will end up with too many difficult or unhappy clients who will be a drain on your ability to care for your “A-clients” – the only ones to whom you should specifically sell. Your only target audience should be defined based on your true capabilities to deliver them value.
The more broadly you define your target market, the more hard pressed you will be to satisfy many of your customers because they really don’t belong on your customer list and shouldn’t be included in your target audience. Your true ability to satisfy their wants or needs may not even be there because you didn’t qualify them properly before being eager to take their money.
Sales and marketing messages that are overbroad can bring you customers who expect more or something different from your grooved and well-established product/service provisions. So let’s stop right here and get more strategic!
The good way to discriminate…
How well developed are your key product/service offerings? What’s your real “stock in trade?” Now, determine the people and organizations who can most benefit from the products and services you routinely and easily provide. Create your “A-Client” profile and seek out only those kinds of people. Learn specifically what’s important to them and continually fine tune your capabilities according to their needs. From this operational foundation, you will be poised to manage more profitable growth.
As you can let go of C-Clients and grow a healthy roster of A-Clients, you will deliver more value with less effort and you may actually have fun doing it. Just think about making more money while making your job easier at the same time. This is achievable! If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you already know your ABC’s. Get to know the A’s intimately well and give them exclusivity in carrying out your sales and marketing plans.