Not all customers are created equal.
That might sound controversial, but stick with me here. Think about your current clients and how they compare to one another.
It might help you to see it visually. Draw a cross that creates four quadrants so you can rank clients in two categories: the ease of working with them and how much money they generate for you.
- In the top left quadrant, list the clients who are easy to work with and generate a lot of revenue for you.
- In the top right quadrant, list clients who are easy to work with but do not generate much revenue.
- In the bottom left quadrant, list those who are not easy to work with but generate a lot of revenue.
- And finally in the bottom right quadrant, list those who are not easy to work with and do not generate a lot of revenue.
Hopefully your longest list is in your top left quadrant – that sweet spot of customers who are easy to serve and also receive healthy invoices from you. But if that’s not your longest list, don’t fret. Let’s explore some strategies that can help you offload your more difficult clients and upsell others while adding to your list of all stars.
Refine your customer base
If you have a client who is a figurative thorn in your side, let them go. In some cases, it is wise to break up with clients. Truly. If the statement “it’s not me, it’s YOU” rings true, it might be time for a DTR. Ending your professional relationship with clients who absolutely drain your resources (time, money, energy) will create margin for you to serve others even better.
You know the ones I’m talking about – they’re hypercritical, consistently late with payments, excessively needy, etc. They are probably in your bottom right quadrant because they are not easy to work with and don’t pay for your most profitable services, but they could also be in your bottom left. In short, they are draining to you and your team. If this description brought a specific client to mind, break up with them! Go about it kindly and professionally of course, but end it soon so you won’t continue wasting your precious, limited resources.
Pursue better clients
Now that you’ve lessened your client load (and your headaches!), strategize how you can add rockstar customers to your figurative rolodex. As Profit First founder Mike Micaholwicz advises, “clone your best clients.” Think about the clients you enjoy serving who also pay for your more profitable services. Pursue the business of others like them! Ask your favorite clients for personal referrals to other business owners. Chances are, if they’re “good people,” then their fellow business owning friends are too. Make personal contact with each of the recommendations.
Also think about why you like working with your top left quadrant clients. Beyond the dollars and cents, what makes you always take their calls? Maybe they follow instructions, are helpful, or have a specific kind of property that makes the work easier for your crew. Once you determine what you like about them, you can build a list of potential clients that share those qualities and pursue them like a dog pursues peanut butter.
Next we’ll focus on your top right clients – these are the ones who are easy to work with but don’t generate much revenue for you. How can you increase the billable services for these clients?
If they own more than one property, it could be as simple as making them an offer they can’t refuse. Offer to do the landscaping at their second property but at a discounted rate. This will add another property to your load but with a great customer, so it’s a win-win. Any time you can lessen the number of clients you have to manage but add more money, you’re #winning.
If your best clients don’t own multiple properties, consider what services you could add for them. Maybe you need to change your pricing model to a package deal that includes some additional seasonal services, or you could simply offer more options a la carte.
Remember not to fall into the trap of becoming a jack of all trades, however. You don’t want to spread yourself thin by adding services that really aren’t in your wheelhouse because you won’t be able to do them with excellence. This exercise is to help you become more profitable, not lose customers due to shoddy work! Also steer clear of adding services that require pricey equipment but won’t be used often enough to be worth the expense.
Make it happen
The bottom line is, when you work for clients you enjoy, the quality of your work will improve. It’s human nature to give our best to those we love the most, whether it’s a deliberate or subconscious decision. By improving your customer base, you’ll become a better company.
Go get ‘em!