Guest post from Samantha Hartley of Enlightened Marketing.
A few years ago I was working with some clients on their brand promise, a statement about the value they give their customers. I repeated one component of it back to Carol, the co-owner of a service business.
“No! We can’t promise that!” she gasped.
“Why not?” I asked. I was confused since she had just told me a story of how this one activity had helped many of their clients. “This is something you do, isn’t it?”
“Well, we do it if they need it,” she said. “But, I’m afraid if we promise it to everyone, we’ll get taken advantage of.”
Aha! The Truth and with it, a Lesson:
You Cannot Deliver Your Full, True Value When You Work With the Wrong Clients.
If you are working with people who don’t honor the value you give them, you may BE taken advantage of.
Another of my clients, Tom, struggled to keep his staff attitudes positive when dealing with difficult patients at his two optical clinics in Canada. His staff dealt with complaint from those who wanted cheaper services and didn’t care about Tom’s innovative holistic approach or vitamins, or investments in technology that aided diagnosis.
And the solution is simple:
Stop Working with the Wrong Clients!
In both of these cases, clients who are a poor fit are not receiving the best of the brands, nor are they receiving what they value (a good deal versus personal touch). Dissatisfied, they become hard to work with, don’t refer anyone else and don’t provide testimonials. It’s a lose-lose relationship for all concerned.
Your business too important – and life is too short – to put up with the wrong clients. If it’s too difficult to outright fire them, begin to phase out your work with anyone who isn’t a great fit for your value.
How to identify a “great fit?” These customers are evangelists for you; they appreciate you so much that they just have to share the good news about your services with others.
At a minimum, you and they both recognize that your product or service solves their problem, and they are quite willing to pay your full fees for the solution.
When You Work with Perfect Clients:
1. Your brand value increases: It’s easy to deliver more of your value when the recipients need and appreciate that value.
2. Your work is a joy: What better feeling than facing creative challenges together with clients who are open to your ideas, suggestions and solutions? (Your staff will love you for it, too.)
3. Your business grows organically: Imagine the money you save on marketing when your own customer base is sharing your value with others on your behalf. Happily, perfect clients tend to know other perfect ones too.
Your Clients Reflect Your Brand
Are you still working with the wrong clients? More often than not, I have found that small business owners are unintentionally attracting imperfect clients with their brands. A compelling brand attracts perfect clients – and subtly repels the wrong ones – because it:
? Communicates your unique value,
? Expresses the values underlying your business and
? Clarifies for imperfect clients that your brand is not for them.
Get a Brand Makeover to Begin Attracting Only Perfect Clients
Fortunately, it is possible to re-energize your brand with a makeover, so that it accurately radiates your business and your values. Well-branded businesses find that marketing is easier, more effective and more profitable. This is in large part because they stop wasting time and energy trying in vain to help the wrong clients.
After a brand makeover Carol found the business attracted more clients with less spending, including those who were considerate of her time and grateful for her affordable fees. Tom’s optical practice has experienced double-digit growth both years since his brand makeover.
Message from the Editor (Lisa)
In my years working with Samantha, I have found that a clear, compelling brand is one of the indispensable elements of a strong plan for strategic growth. I am looking forward to hearing about your successes with her no–cost video training.
Guest blogger: Samantha Hartley