Getting smart about choosing your customers
Regardless of how much you love your company or how much you believe in its vision, dealing with bad clients or customers day after day can turn your business life into a nightmare – like the customer who takes up a lot of your time and energy but provides your business with very little revenue. You started your business precisely because you don’t want to settle for a BS job. So how can you choose and attract the kinds of clients or customers that will help you turn your business into a dream job – and a booming enterprise?
1. Decide: Good clients, bad clients
All companies have better and worse clients. The difference between a good business and a disastrous one, however, is being able to systematically identify, attract and satisfy the good clients. Or even better: to deal only with your ideal clients.
As a starting entrepreneur, this is a lesson I learnt the hard way. Thinking that more equals better, I took any client on board. In time I realized that bad clients are not only bad for business but also for my personal development as a business person. Sticking with people who were obviously not a positive influence on my business gravely undermined my business success. Over time, I’ve learnt to sniff the bad clients from a mile away and I’ve learnt to say “no” to them. This has been a major lesson on my path to becoming a successful serial entrepreneur.
[Here are 4 signs you might not be serving the right clients]:
– Your clients are more focused on getting a better price than on getting more value
– Your clients are late paying their bills
– Your clients are never satisfied, but they can’t tell you what exactly is not satisfying their demands
– Your clients are more interested in a one-time deal than in a long-term partnership
Why should you be picky about your clients? Because good clients are more than just clients – they are also good business partners and brand ambassadors. Some of the major benefits of good clients include:
– Boosting your company’s revenues via win-win deals and/or valuable recommendations
– Enhancing the quality of your products and services thanks to their valuable feedback
– Stimulating your personal development as a business owner and/or professional
– Spurring your company’s business growth
– Constantly challenging you to take your company to the next level
Of course, every business is different, so what might be an ideal client for me could be your business’s worst nightmare. Still, there is a system to effectively identify, get to know and target those clients who can help you manifest your business mission – in style.
2. Introduce ‘Persona’ to choose your clients smartly
We have marketing professionals to thank for this tool, which involves identifying good and bad clients using Positive and Negative Personas. The Persona helps you address the right people, in the right way, in the right place. You will target your potential client (or customer, guest, visitor, user or whatever you call people that you want to attract) so well, that you will dramatically reduce wasteful spending on ineffective marketing.
A ‘Buyer Persona’ (or ‘Persona’ – also known as an ‘Avatar’):
– is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, your exact targeted client, but based on data about their demographics and behavior as well as informed speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns
– captures the type of person with an incredible need for your product and a love for your company; the person who will remain a loyal client and share their enthusiasm about your business with all of their friends / business partners
– includes your exact targeted client’s fears, problems, stumbling blocks and favorite places
Once you develop your Positive and Negative Persona you will be able to:
– better target your ideal client
– determine what kind of content / message you need to create
– set the tone, style and delivery strategies for your content
– understand where your potential clients (or buyers) are and how to deliver your information for better reach and consumption
3. Develop Persona to attract only your ideal clients
Now that you’ve understood the value of Personas for your business, the next step is to start developing them. Assign the task to the marketing specialists in your team, or outsource and hire an expert. The latter is a good option provided you find the right person. Be prepared also to invest a lot of your own time to help this expert adapt their work to the particularities of your business.
A quicker and cheaper alternative is the Persona Action Plan: a do-it-yourself template to guide you and your team towards identifying and targeting the ideal clients for your business. We developed this tool based on the knowledge we acquired and applied successfully while facing our own bad client challenges.
The Persona Action Plan guides you to build 2–3 Personas for your product / service / solution, based on:
– your existing information about the characteristics, problems, needs, dreams and behaviors of your customers
– information collected during interviews with your customers
The result of this process will be such a detailed description of your Personas that they will each get a name and a picture! You will develop your customers’ buying journey map [a model of your customer’s purchasing process – from awareness to consideration to intent to final purchase decision] and be able to strategically focus your marketing efforts, giving you a rock solid foundation for targeted marketing content.
Try the Persona Action Plan here, to find your exact targeted client and radically increase conversion from potential to real and valuable customer – without increasing your marketing spend.