Do your clients Energise You, Inspire You and allow YOU to do your Best Work?
Do you have a loooong list of clients that Drain You, Undervalue You and cause you Heartburn?
If your business is filled with HIGH NEED, LOW VALUE clients, then you will be working long, working hard and seeing very little return in either income or appreciation!
Nothing hurts the potential of your business to grow and prosper more than if it’s filled with the wrong type of clients.
I know because, when I first started my business, I made a fatal mistake with my client selection that cost me a lot of TIME and MONEY.
Today I know better, so I want to share 5 Non-Negotiable strategies I use for choosing who I’ll work with.
If you’re ready to Earn More and Work Less, you’re going to find these ideas extremely valuable.
When I first started my business, I thought my job was to work hard and hustle to create as many sales opportunities as I could, so that’s what I did – signing up as many clients as possible.
Little did I know that by applying this type of thinking, I was in fact impeding my progress.
What I’ve since learnt is your clients can be your greatest asset – or biggest liability.
This is especially true in the formative years of your business, when the tendency (necessity) is to say YES to EVERY opportunity because you need to make a dollar.
What I discovered (thanks to the help of a mentor) was that instead of each sale I made moving me closer to freedom, each sale was in fact tightening a straightjacket I’d unwittingly created for myself.
Ask most entrepreneurs what they want from their businesses and they will tell you FREEDOM, CONTROL, FLEXIBILITY and PROFIT.
If these are things you also aspire to have, then your first step is to refine your CLIENT SELECTION process.
Here is a key principal an early mentor taught me that completely transformed my business.
Every dollar is not the same.
Like many entrepreneurs I meet today, I started my business with a false belief…
A belief that all dollars are the same!
No, they are not!
The simple truth is, some dollars come with too many conditions attached.
In the first year of my business I said YES to everybody and everything.
Prior to going into business I’d spent years as a (poor) struggling musician; money was tight and I didn’t have time to waste.
I’ve never been afraid of hard-work or taking a risk and did lots of both in that first year.
But I was so busy trying to make sales I lost focus on what was happening in my business.
I was attracting clients who wanted a lot of my time but didn’t want to pay much for it.
Perhaps you know these people?
I was striving to create a good income but somehow each new client I won made my life harder instead of easier.
Something was wrong!
I was on the fast track to burnout trying to meet my growing client list’s needs and make ends meet at the same time.
It was at this point that a mentor pointed out that I needed to do 3 things if I wanted to change my fortunes.
#1 Learn a word that I rarely every used.
That word was…
He pointed out that I wasn’t driving my business, it was driving me, because I’d fallen into the trap of saying YES to everyone and everything, no matter how far it dragged me off course.
You see I had developed two dangerous habits:
- I was trying to please EVERYONE (Fear of Rejection).
- I saw everything as an opportunity (Shiny Object Syndrome).
He was right, but his solution to my problem was truly frightening.
He said, if I wanted to regain control I needed to sack some of my clients!
What the… ??
At first, I thought he was mad!
After working so hard to win all these clients, now he was suggesting I sack some of them.
He pointed out that if you think of yourself as a glass of water and you’ve filled yourself full of HIGH NEED, LOW VALUE (the worst kind of clients), you have no space available to attract or cater for a better calibre of client.
He was right.
I was at my capacity, working crazy hours and still not earning the income I wanted. Something had to give.
# 2 Sack the clients that are hurting your business
The next day I took my mentors advice and did something I never dreamed I would ever do. I sacked my first client.
I’m not going to lie, it was SCARY!
This client represented what was at the time a good sum of money to me.
But the client was hard-work. Every session felt like a grind. He would spend the whole time complaining about EVERYTHING but spent NO TIME IMPLEMENTING ANYTHING I had suggested.
It was completely ENERGY ZAPPING!
Weighing up the money I would be losing against the frustration I was feeling, the decision to sack this client suddenly seemed the obvious course of action.
I politely told the client I didn’t think this was working for either of us and I suggested he might need someone else to help him.
He was a little shocked but he agreed.
When I left his office, I felt this enormous weight lift off my shoulders.
I was energised by how I could more effectively use the time that I’d just created.
And that brought me to the third step my mentor recommended.
# 3 FOCUS your energy.
If you want to attract a better class of client, my mentor pointed out I needed to FOCUS my energy and that meant getting crystal clear about three things.
Step 1. Identify WHO your ideal client is.
One of the reasons I’d fallen into the trap of saying yes to anyone was because I hadn’t taken the time to identify what a great client looked like.
You need a clear client Avatar to be able to assess whether a prospect is a good fit for your business or not.
To help you define your target market download a copy of the FREE – Client Avatar ID Sheet HERE.
This sheet will help you create a clear picture of the clients you want.
2. Identify WHAT is their BIG Problem.
What is the most common issue your clients look to you to help them solve?
A big part of client selection is making sure that the PROBLEM the client is facing is one that you are uniquely skilled to help them solve.
If you attempt to FIX EVERYTHING, it’s likely you will be tackling issues that are outside of your true skill set, making them more time consuming and work.
If you are clear about the problems you solve, client selection becomes much easier, more targeted and improves the outcomes for your clients.
3. Identify WHY you are the best person to Solve It.
Expertise is created by having the ability to solve a specific and narrow band of issues.
One of the most difficult lessons to learn as an entrepreneur is that LESS is MORE.
- The LESS variations you accept, the MORE consistent your results.
- The LESS people you say yes to, the MORE focus you can give each client.
- The LESS general your message, the MORE clients you attract.
- The LESS options you give, the MORE expertise you create
In today’s marketplace, it’s better to be REALLY-GOOD at solving a specific issue than it is to be OK with helping fix a spread of issues.
This is where you build a brand and reputation and that’s formed not only by what you do and how well you do it, but equally by what you don’t do.
One of the principles we teach in the Marketers Club is…
‘Get on Brand, Stay on Brand.’
This starts with proper client identification.
Grab your FREE Client Avatar ID Sheet now and start building a clear picture of who you want to work with.
This one piece of advice to stop accepting anyone as a client and to be more discerning about client selection completely changed the trajectory of my business.
The fact is EVERYONE is not your buyer, and although they may say yes to working with you, it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily a good fit.
Today I am a lot more selective about who I work with and I’d encourage you to consider doing the same.
Making short term sales that cause you long term pain is not a strategy for growth, profit or success.
If your instinct tells you it’s not a good fit, I suggest you LISTEN to your gut. It’s usually right.
Dedicated to your success.
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your Client Avatar ID Sheet. It’s a great starting point for helping you to begin identifying the clients you do want to attract. Grab your copy here