Are your customers turning into energy vampires?
Running a business requires a lot of time and energy, and one needs to plan the whole logistics, from start to finish, to ensure that the brand of the business, the customer service and also what the customers want are all up to scratch.
Many start-up business start from a spare room in the house, or the garage or even a shed, and it’s usually a one man band, who’s trying to take on the world, and build up a business. For the business to succeed one needs customers, without customers your business will just not be a business. Call it whatever you like, you need people buying off you, and contributing towards your bottom line, that’s why you have gone into business. From time to time you will meet customers and have dealings with users that have a completely different thinking, come from a different background and lifestyle. Their dealings and interactions may come across to you as a shock or a challenge (I prefer a challenge), it may seem hard work, or seem that you are putting a lot of energy into working with such customers, and not benefiting anything, or in worse case scenario your work and efforts are not being appreciated. What do you do in such situations?
Educate your clients – You mean business
Have the correct mindset that, you are trying to help your client here, and work with the client to achieve their requirements, educate your client of the process involved and get them to understand enough so that they know that they have made the correct choice. Your client should feel that they need you, and it’s not necessary that you need them (even though your desperate for the sale) but always aim to give the impression that it’s the client that needs your expertise, your help and advice.
After educating your client, if you still feel that their expectations are not realistic, and they are asking allot from you, in terms of time, energy, and resource, its best to discuss it face to face or on a call outlining what is involved within your services, and what is not. If they feel that they are not getting the correct service from you, give them the option to walk away, it’s a free world, no one forces anyone to make decisions, but the most you can do is guide them to ensure that they make the correct decision.
After showing your clients where to draw the line, and they are still crossing the line, Its best to put an end to the project in the early stages rather than letting it develop and losing sleep and time over it. It may sound harsh, but it is not worth the effort, at the end of the day, you are there to work with someone serious, someone that understands what you have to offer on the table, and someone that appreciates your work. If you have a good relationship with your client than its natural the results will be good, you would be able to discuss openly what needs to be fixed and changed, and what is working and what’s not, it’s a two way stream.
When should the alarm bells start to ring?
When customer becomes rude: If your customer becomes upset or irate about a genuine situation, than its your responsibility to fix it, if the customer starts to become rude, and aggressive, than things can get a bit nasty. Before this develops further Its best to put a stop to it. We are all humans, mistakes can happen anytime, and there should be no need for fowl and rude language from your customer.
Unrealistic Expectation: When the customer does not understand the project fully, they know what they want, but are not willing to understand the amount of work involved, and the logistics that go behind in achieving what they want. After educating the client and advising them, if their expectations are still not realistic, its best not to go into business with them.
Discounts: Everyone wants a good deal, its fine and no harm in asking for discount, but there has to be a fine line between pushing your luck and getting a good deal. If you’re customer is persevering with you to give them a better deal, even after you have given your discount. Why would you want to go into business with such individuals. Yes offer your customers a discount, take care of them, and ensure that they get a good deal so that they stay with you, but when the customer is just there to make you work for nothing, it’s not worth the hassle. If you go into a grocery shop, you pay for what you buy, even if it’s a tin of baked beans, so why should your product and services be different, everything has a price.
How to drop the news that they are not worth it?
Increase your prices: No one likes a price increase, whether its for a product, services, or utilities, when the Gas Price goes up, we moan, and start to look for alternatives. Same way if you want to politely get rid of a client, Increase your prices. Your loyal customers that work with you, and know the value of your product and services will stick around, and you will find that all the time wasters would make a runner.
Fully Booked: Advise your client that you are fully booked and cannot take on any more work. Sound genuine, and they should accept the fact.
Just say no: At times its difficult to say no to a client, as at times you may get some clients that would be happy to pay a better rate, or would wait until you can book them in. From your past experience you know that you cannot work well with such clients. Just simply say no. This is not an easy thing to do, and 9 out of 10 times will upset the client, but if it’s for the good of your business, it has to be done.
Some corporate companies may not prefer this method, but if you are going to go into a long term business relationship with a customer, you want to ensure that it works, and that you can offer the best service possible to that company or individual. This can only be achieved if the client also understand how your concepts work, and has a realistic expectation. As if you do go into a business relationship and if things go paired shape, it’s your brand, your company, and your image that is at stake. No matter how awkward the customer may be, others will always listen to the customer, so rather than being in that situation, chose your clients that you work with wisely.