Even in a slowdown, there are certain customers that you don’t want to do business with. If you’re a service-business owner, a customer you should try to avoid is the one who takes your professional services for granted. For example, I’m often cold-called by prospective clients to answer their “quick question” about business law, corporate matters or their real estate transaction. However, providing quality legal advice that a (paying) client can rely on could take me a few hours to research, or is the product of having 20 years of legal experience behind me. Your business, large or small is no different. You’ve worked very hard to get where you are now, and so the clients you want should appreciate the time and effort you put into the products you sell, or the service you provide. So how can you identify customers you don’t want? Review my following tips on the customers you should avoid.
- Customers Looking for a Handout
Some new customers often want a freebie, also known as a handout. They want you to provide them with a product or service at a steep discounted rate or for free. If you accept this rate, they will insist you keep it for future service. This is the type of customer you should definitely stay away from. As a business professional, you must know the value of the service you provide. Whatever your hourly rate is, don’t drop below that amount. Any customer asking you to do most likely doesn’t value your time, and is one that you should firmly and politely decline.
- Customers Focused on Price Instead of Results
Price is a major factor when a customer considers acquiring a new product or service. Unfortunately, some customers get hung up on the price versus of the results your product or service will provide. Always focus on the results your customers can achieve if they use your products. If your customer becomes fixated on the price, you should reconsider the business relationship. Again, never undervalue your product or service. Doing so will result in you making less money when you really could be making more.
- Customers that have Unrealistic Expectations or Promise Bigger Things (Later)
Some customers have expectations that far exceed what your product or service can do for them. Over time, this customer will become more and more demanding, and consume more of your time just to keep them happy. They are setting you up to fail. Because, eventually, you will run out of time, resources, or patience, and you can’t satisfy their needs. You should nip this kind of business relationship in the bud. These kinds of customers can become disgruntled and possibly post negative reviews about your company online. It’s just not worth it.
The other kind of customer in this category comes to you with a small project, or seeking a freebie, but drops promises of bigger, grander, projects in the future. Don’t be deceived; these customers are often just storytellers who just want your attention. If they truly have connections, or secret investor, or a valuable introduction to share with you, that’s awesome. Impress them with your product and your professionalism, not by getting starry-eyed over their promises.
You will be doing yourself and everyone else in your company a favor if you end business relationships with customers you don’t want. Do not let customers you don’t want turn into a costly customer. This will lower your profits over time. You’ll see your staff putting out the fires of cranky customers, rather than working on the profitable (appreciative) ones. Keep customers that value your business. These type of customers will stick with you through the ups and downs of your business.