And how it can help your business succeed!
If you own a business, chances are that you’ve come across a few customers that were difficult. On the flip side, you’ve also probably worked with customers that were pleasant, appreciative, and by the end of the experience, you were left thinking, “WOW, I wish I had more customers like him/her!” You’ve just interacted with a great representation of your ideal customer, and in this post, we are going to talk about why identifying your ideal customer is instrumental to running a successful business.
Our Take & Recent Experience
We recently had a hostile customer contact us for an estimate for their eCommerce site. Here at Border7, we offer free consultations and estimates, and also have a policy of not doing business with people who are belligerent, disrespectful, or vulgar. We feel that this type of customer impacts the enjoyable work environment we strive to create, and in the end, we know there will be no pleasing this customer – no matter what we do. So, when we recently came across this individual, we politely declined, and suggested that they contact another company for their web needs.
Turning Down Work Can Save Money & Future Headaches
You might be thinking, “Wait, so you turned down possible work?” We sure did! This is because we have identified our ideal client, and now know that if we are contacted by an individual that does not fit within that description, we will choose to not do business with them. Just as our clients have the right to decide if they would like to work with us, we can also determine if we would like to partner with them. This allows us to focus our energy on the companies we would like to do business with, or are already partnered with.
Be Firm & Vigilant
Now, the individual we declined to work with obviously did not like being told this, and responded by writing a slanderous review on a Google Places page for our old office. This kind of response can happen, and is why it is important to always check your social accounts for activity that is malicious or incorrect. It’s also possible that the customer will respond, and ask you to reconsider, or tell you off for turning them down. However, it’s imperative that you do not waiver, and remember why you said no to begin with. We wish we had known to do this sooner, and would like to share how we identified our ideal customer, so you can too!
Think Back to Past/Current Customers
What did you like about this individual, and why did you enjoy working with them?
Were they respectful, professional, and prompt to respond?
Was this customer organized, and provided you with what you needed to move forward?
Did they ask questions and provide information that helped with the task(s) at hand?
Write Out a Description
Now that you’ve noted the qualities you liked about these particular customers, and have thought about why these relationships have worked in the past, we are ready to write a list of the characteristics that are important to you. Grab a pen or your keyboard and write these characteristics down. Here are a few Questions to help get you started:
Which traits are imperative to the happiness of you/your team, and which are you willing to compromise on?
How does your ideal customer behave?
If you should hit a speed bump during your relationship with your ideal customer, how would they react and communicate about the issue?
Trust Your Gut
So now that you have a description of our ideal customer, and know which traits you will not compromise on, you will want to trust your gut. If you are contacted by a customer who does not fit your description, or is setting off a few red flags for you, then you probably know what you should do.
How to Turn Down the Work
You’ve now decided that you do not want to work with a particular customer, and are wondering how you are going to break the news to them. The key things to keep in mind are: be respectful, professional, and polite. People do not like being told “no.” Telling a new customer “no” is typically easier than having to explain to an existing customer that you have realized they do not fit your description. If this is the case, then it is up to you to determine whether this information warrants a phone call or not. Should you decide that a message will be sufficient, here is an example to help get you started:
After reflecting on our previous engagements, I’m aware of some problems with our working relationship. [Here you will want to explain what these issues are in a matter of fact manner. Remember to remain polite and professional].
With these grievances in mind, I believe that another company may be a better fit for you and your [the service or product you provide] needs. As of today, [Name of Your Company] will not be able to assist you with [the service you were providing this individual].
Thank you for understanding. I wish you luck with your business and your future endeavors.”
Having to turn down work, or tell a customer “no” is not an easy task, and in some instances, it might seem easier to try to complete the engagement as quickly as possible so you can avoid any confrontation. Now that you have a clear idea of who your customer is, however, you can now be on the lookout for customers that will instead cause you and your team distress, cost money, and could potentially harm your reputation. Follow the description of your ideal customer, trust your gut, and always be polite and professional, and you will be helping your business!
Have you come across a customer that you did not want to work with? Why did you feel this way, and how did you handle the situation? Share your comments below, or send us a message. We’d love to hear your thoughts!