It’s time for a Christmas cleanout! If you want to start 2019 afresh, then the end of the year is the perfect time to look at who you’re letting through your doors – into your business, and as a small business owner, by extension, that means your life!
There are some customers that are simply not worth the dollars they bring into your business. Goodness knows there is enough pressure on your personnel resources to cope with the inquiries coming in that we don‘t need to endure the undesired – and there is nothing wrong with this.
You’ll already know that customers who consistently pay late or are a credit risk should be top of the ‘Clients To Turn Away This Christmas’ list. However, what you might not consider is that there are other types of customers who simply aren’t worth the time, hassle and stress of dealing with.
After all, you have limited time and resources to run your business and slow payers aren’t the only clients who can hurt your bottom line. We’ve put together the top three problem clients to look out for and why they’re best avoided from the start, rather than long-suffered.
1. The Time-Wasters
This could be the customer who phones you asking for extensive details about a special discount offer you advertised, one who changes their mind several times (and wouldn’t dream of offering to pay for the extra time cost you’ve incurred), or the customer who’ll ask you for a detailed proposal just to get you off their case, even though they have little intention of buying.
2. The Poor Fit
Sometimes clients want to do business with you, even when they’re not a good fit for what you offer. Either they ask for products or services you don’t provide or have requirements that will cause you significant financial outlay, time and resources to fulfill, (without necessarily any guarantee of ongoing work).
3. The Polar Opposites
You might not adore each and every one of your clients and they might not all be in your ‘Top 5 People To Go Out For A Drink With On A Friday Afternoon’. However, your customers SHOULD treat you courteously, share the same values as you and appreciate the value your product/service offers. If they don’t, you’ll be banging your head against a brick wall and are letting yourself in for no end of frustration.
But when should I ‘fire’ a client?
It’s usually only after a long, drawn-out and painful chain of disagreements/events that a business owner will let unsuitable clients go (and often, not before there’s been much distress incurred on both sides). Avoid this by checking the warning signs early and be aware of the type of specific client that works best with you and your business.
What’s more, at the start of a business relationship, make sure you’re doing the right thing in accepting a new client. So many business owners’ mistakes are made when they don’t follow their instincts, whether it’s in pursuing an opportunity, hiring a staff member, or in this case, accepting new customers – they take them on board, even when they have a niggling feeling that tells them it’s not in everyone’s best interests to do so.
If you’ve been in business a while, you should have enough experience behind you (not to mention life experience) to know when a client is right for you and when they’re not. Make sure you listen to your gut feeling when it comes to new clients because often your brain will be picking up subconscious clues that can offer valuable information as to whether this client is one of the ‘usual suspects’ mentioned above.
If you’d like an outside perspective on whether your clients are energy, time and resource sappers or ‘zappers’ (i.e. they sap more from you then they contribute) then give us a call.
We’re business improvement experts and would be happy to give you obligation-free feedback on how you can better manage your clients. Phone us today on 03 479 3897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.