Should you fire your customers?

Recently, I attended a Linking Greensboro event and had a great conversation with Kim Williams and Danielle Hatfield. We talked about common relationship challenges with clients. Most of the time it is due to a lack of trust by the client or not setting the right expectations for the project. Sometimes the issue is because there is a bad fit between us and them. In that case, you identify it (the earlier the better) and point them in the right direction to get the help they need. This is long-term thinking. This is doing what is best for them, not best for you.

Organizations need to do this with their customers. They need to set the proper expectations and earn their trust. Carmax does this with its “no-haggle price” policy. Customers know exactly what they are getting into, and if you want to wheel-and-deal they will recommend the seller down the street.

Companies may even need to fire some customers and help them find a better fit for their needs (it may even be a competitor). If your goal is really to help them succeed, then this is an easy decision. I worked at a software consulting company that was industry famous for recommending clients to other consulting firms if their needs and our services didn’t align. It is amazing how often those clients would come back or refer their peers to us.

Remember this as you develop strategies for growing your business. Remember you don’t need everyone, you need the right ones.

Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Are we setting the right expectations for how are prospects, customers and partners interact with us?
  2. Have we defined our ideal customer?
  3. Who are they?
  4. Why are we choosing them?


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