Your client closet needs purging. Now.
Your activities are focused on 2015 customer acquisition strategies. While you are surging ahead with forward momentum, you may not be asking yourself the ONE vital question for business sustainability. Do you know the question you must ask yourself?
Are you doing business with the right type of customers? If not, it’s high time to get started on cleaning out your client closet.
- Why continue to do business with customers who won’t be essential to moving your business towards your goal for sustainability?
- Why continue to do business with customers who aren’t willing to serve as referrals for your business growth and expansion strategy?
Many companies are so thankful for customers that they do business with just about anyone who will generate some type of revenue stream for them. Paying customers aren’t the same thing as the right type of customers.
The “right” customers are loyal and retained. They don’t make the basis of their ongoing relationship with you one of price point. These are your A-list customers.
Do you know who they are?
Sure, your customer base is a mixed bag. You inherited some of your customers from the last rep or the last owner of the company you bought. These customers were considered “assets” that the business brought to the negotiation table. Now that you’ve been in business for a while, are these customers assets or liabilities to your own forward momentum?
When you clean out your client closet, you cull through and gradually eliminate those customers who sidetrack your strategic focus. You gradually stop providing RFQs and RFPs to projects which are always unprofitable and PIA (pain in you-know-where). You know which of your customers fall into these categories.
Your objective is to develop a fairly homogeneous customer base of A- and B-list customers. Your business development and prospecting skills become more discerning, in the process. Your mixed bag of business becomes less of a question mark and more of an exclamation point.
When you clean out your client closet in third quarter (and each subsequent quarter) your strategic plans are more successfully accomplished. You make your numbers more predictably. Your internal staff and your sales team are on the same page.
When you clean out your client closet, each strategy session doesn’t sound like: “And now for something different.” Instead, you collaborate to determine not only how you can acquire new A- and B-list customers, but also how you can grow your current customers’ businesses, too.
As an annual strategy, clean out your client closet starting in third quarter this year through third quarter next year.
Let this strategy become the basis for next year’s planning. You gain forward momentum to move your small and midsize business transitioning forward. Your startup begins to grow. You develop yourself as a business professional of worth.
What are you waiting for?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers and Bloggers in 2013 and 2014.