Most small businessmen (including banks and IFA) do not measure the ‘Value of a Client’ AT ALL. For a small (new, growing) business every client looks like a “Must get, Must keep whatever the price”. This is not true.
You must capture the value of a client – a) how much business am I doing with him b) How much time me and my team is spending on this client (value which is hours x per hour cost), does he pay on time (every time), does he give me references, do I get a good feel when I interact with him, does he give me useful hints on what to do in my business?
If you do not capture all this, you do not really know how much each client is worth to you in your business. When a client walks in YOU should be able to read “Rs. 20 crores” on his forehead or “Rs. 4 lakhs” or “TROUBLE”. I have found it de-stressing to give away clients that I do not wish to deal with. Just call up friends in the same profession (or business) and give it off. No trade off. Just give away.
Set your work standards – what you will do, what you will delegate, how will you handle your “A” , “B” and other clients. Not every demanding client has to be attended to immediately. You can let your team handle some of the more routine queries. Do not let a client “just drop in” for a coffee. If he drops in for a coffee, let it just be coffee. You should be well prepared for a client meeting. It takes time. You need your team’s feedback – be fully prepared for a meeting.
Define your Ideal client – small, big, currently small with huge potential, can give references – all these are important. Of course not all your current clients are IDEAL clients. You may keep a few of them as long as they are not too demanding. Or if you can get your team to handle them. Remember all of them contribute to the kitty and are meeting a part of your expenses. However, start looking for more IDEAL clients – and in the process if a few non ideal clients are lost, so be it.
If a client is arrogant, tells you “I am paying you…therefore…” it is a good time to give it up. This is like a marriage – the wife has to stop the abuse on day 1. There should be no comporomise on that. Violence – whether in marriage or business can start with verbal assault.
Get written testimonials from the clients who say nice things…get is signed and frame it. If a client can quantify the benefit, even better. “I used …….product and saved Rs. 22 lakhs..giving me a fabulous ROI of 1100% – I paid only Rs. 2 lakhs for it” or “I got my costs back in 22 months for an investment of Rs. 18L… and this is an important amount for me”. Helps.
However do remember – every demanding client is not a toxic client. He could be a demanding client – hence a teaching client. What he wants today, the world could want tomorrow. So in a way he could be preparing YOU and your business for tomorrow, be careful in judging. Be a good judge, not a lazy judge.
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