Stop playing with those kinds of folks! C-list customers are not doing your business a favor.
Instead, you are creating and reinforcing sub-par business development habits. Plus you are hanging out with the wrong folks: targeting C-list customers who won’t help your business grow. In fact, they can drive your business into the ground within three years.
I developed a Grade Your Customer Worksheet to get myself and my customers out of their business development status quo. Download your copy. Gain business perspective. It works.
The first step you make: take a long hard look at your customer base. I know I did a number of years ago. It was shocking. I was prospecting any and everyone, in order to make my numbers. I had an eclectic mix of clientele, some of whom aligned with my own core capabilities. Other customers – those C-list customers – well, simply were jacking around with me. Tell the truth, I got a bit pissed off. You will too.
The second step: look at the quality and quantity of business your customer base offers you. Pretty picture or just plain ugly? Agony or ecstasy? Aligned with your value system and skillset sweet spot or totally off-target?
The third step: Own up to yourself. Are you really walking all your high-quality talk? Some of you (or your reps) are low-balling to get work. Not a strategy I condone.
Most of you are focused on creating high quality business and manufactured outcomes for your customers. It’s just that you have a Ready-Fire-Aim customer acquisition strategy, resulting in C-List Customers.
Building your business is really a two-way street.
Are your customers helping you hone the art and craft of your professional expertise? Or are the number of C-list customers you cater to dragging you down into their own dysfunctional business practices and psychodrama?
I can see you smiling. You’ve done business with a few of these types of customers – and regretted your decisions each time.
Yeah, I know. Your cash flow was spiraling downward. You had to “take what you could get.” That’s because you hadn’t targeted the appropriate customers for your business. Worse yet, your sales people determined your target customers because you didn’t provide them with a solid direction.
Your customer base is your tool for building professional credibility and reputation. Your customer base can be leveraged to build, grow and expand your business through referrals.
How many customers in your current customer base can you use as references for future projects? Hmmm…
Time to grade your customers. Yep, just like your school teachers. It’s a sobering and insightful exercise.
Establish your list of attributes for the type of A-list and B-list customers that provide you with win-win opportunities to grow each other’s businesses and showcase each other’s skill sets. Grow a loyal and retained customer base in the process.
There’s nothing magic involved. Just process, discipline, honesty and foresight.
Grading your customers is a sure-fire means of getting you, your staff and your company out of your own status quo.
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks and coaches about customer success for customer retention in the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ecosystem. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical teams. She serves manufacturing, IT and engineering intensive companies. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. This article is reproduced with this author’s permission and expanded from the original, appearing on LinkedIn Publisher platform. Image source: iStock