All customers are NOT created equal

What if I was to suggest that many businesses suffer at the hands of their customers? …that their success is stifled because their customers are bleeding them dry?

It seems a crazy situation, yet it is exceptionally common. If you were to turnaround and ask almost any businessperson ‘do you have any problem customers?’ they will likely say ‘yes’ …followed by an explanation as to why those problem customers are such a pain for their business.

So you have to wonder why did they say ‘yes’ to them in the first place?!

For many the problem lies in the businessperson’s failure to know what is the right type of customer for their business and so they foolishly say ‘yes’ to anyone wishing to give them money.

So does that mean I am suggesting you say ‘no’ to certain would-be customers?

…Yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting!

On first consideration this may seem foolhardy or controversial, but as you will discover this idea of ‘choosing your customers’ is the key to better business.

Admittedly, there are some people who would argue against this kind of strategy and believe “as long as the customer has money, they’re right for me”. But you have to wonder if they would be happy with any of the following possibilities:

  • A customer who publicly berates you and your business for no reason, creating negative word-of-mouth at any opportunity
  • A customer who breaks your copyright and adds your product to a bit-torrent website so anyone can get it for free
  • A customer who is a ‘serial refunder’ or abuses your guarantee and therefore never really pays for anything

Each is a classic example of how some customers can lose you sales and cost your business money, so most businesspeople would agree they are indeed ‘problem customers’ and not worth it. But what about slightly subtler examples…

  • A customer who frequently has you on the phone asking for assistance …rather than using the knowledgebase and support section of your website
  • A customer who continually pays your invoices late …causing you cashflow problems
  • A customer who is always obnoxious and rude to you and your team …eroding enthusiasm and motivation

Clearly, each of these examples has a business cost too – and, as I am sure you agree, there is no reason why any business should have to endure such things.

But I’ve not finished yet…!

For those still thinking they will somehow ride out the chaos caused by problem customers, they had better pause for a second before diving head first into the fire, because the issue is even worse than it might first seem.

Just think about it for a moment…

If you are preoccupied with these ‘problem customers’, whether in-person or just through ongoing worry and stress, then your focus is clearly not on what is right for your business. So not only do those ‘problem customers’ cost you money and time directly, but they also have the indirect cost where you miss opportunity due to the distraction they create.

In other words, it is so easy to get caught up in pointless nonsense and bitter thoughts towards annoying customers that you fail to notice opportunities and new customers who are clearly right there in front of you.

Similarly, you might be so busy dealing with customer problems that you inadvertently overlook the new ‘perfect’ customer waiting on your doorstep…

…desperate to give you their money and appreciation.

And you will not be able to help yourself; it is human nature after all.

Physicist Moshe Feldenkrais called it the “elusive obvious” where we tend to find what we are focusing on …but we do this to such an extent we neglect to see other things that are obviously staring us in the face. You need only consider most magical illusions which are based on the exact same phenomenon; you are so busy concentrating on something else you entirely miss what is really happening right in front of you.

But unlike magic, in business this effect is not one of wonder and delight.

It is destructive and deadly…

and left unchecked can destroy your business.

Ironically, some businesspeople like to think they’re on top of it, because when asked they can clearly describe the wrong type of customer for their business (rather than what is right) …but given the ‘elusive obvious’ phenomenon discussed, that is hardly a good thing!

Clearly, the only real solution is to have the right focus from the outset and choose your customers – only then will you avoid the many issues I have described and enjoy a growing successful business.

So what is the right type of customer for your business?

Well, we’ll save the answer to that for another day …but in the mean time it may interest you to know that this article is actually an extract from something special I’m launching in December.

And choosing customers is just the start!

How does ‘more customers, spending more money, more often’ sound to you?

It’s called 3SG™ – and you can get more details when you CLICK HERE.