It’s time for a client diet when the majority of your clients:
- are giving you heartburn instead of profitability;
- haggle over every detail of your business proposal including, of course, price;
- love what you do for them, thank you profusely, and then refuse to recommend or refer you;
- hire you to do busy work rather than creative work;
- treat you like an hourly worker in a short-order restaurant instead of a business person of worth;
- ask you: “Can you do this?” instead of “What do you think of this?”;
- perceive you as a commodity instead of a delicacy;
- are looking for low ball pricing or freebies instead of high value, high quality output and outcomes;
- don’t pay their invoices anywhere near on time;
- are the wrong size or target market for your business goals;
- argue with you incessantly, criticize your work and keep giving you repeat business anyway;
- are preventing you from working with the type of customers in the type of industry verticals that bring out your best.
At least once a year, like now, if not once a quarter, take the time to put yourself on a client diet. You may have a pipeline full of the wrong folks.
Take the time to grade your customers. Prune the ones who are preventing your business from moving forward.
Refocus your client development efforts on the folks who will give your business forward momentum. Keep your business trim, lean, fit and energized.
What would you add to this list?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams.