Weed your client base.
Why you should let your clients go.
If you own a garden or a lawn, you know pretty well that every now and then you need to weed it. This has to be done so that the grass, plants and trees that you like can grow healthier and stronger. In return, a tidy garden will be easier to maintain, please your eyes and senses and provide plenty of enjoyment for you and your dear ones.
Now, we should have enough common sense to realise that we need to approach our client base in the same way: weed it on a conscious and regular basis.
Admit it: we all have customers out there who are dragging our business down.
They are tough to deal with and to please, they consume a lot of our best people cycles — solution architects, project managers, sales reps, even execs — and don’t really promise growth or additional future business for our firm.
These are the clients who are first to criticise and demand extras that either: a) you cannot provide or b) you can only provide by diluting your overall margin.
They are also the ones who tend to be quite vocal when something goes wrong, but never say a word when everything runs smoothly.
Truth is, customers are not created equals — just like companies are not all the same. I completely buy into the concept of “the market of one”, but it better be the right one for your business.
Telling customers to go
So you need to take care of your clients. If you can, move them to a low-maintenance approach, where you can make sure that they are reasonably happy and don’t stir pointless discussions.
More often than not — however — the best way is just to severe them. Cut them loose. Be honest, politely tell them that you are not interested to work with them anymore, help them find alternatives and just bid them farewell.
By doing so, you will ensure that you spend yours and your organisation’s time looking for and taking care of the customers and prospects that really count.
The ones that you can delight with your products and services, the ones that will come back for more and partner long term with your company to achieve great things together.
Pick your best opportunities
Finally, by weeding clients you will also: focus your company on the most desirable business to be won, make better use of the resources and capabilities currently available, make better informed investment decisions.
Oh, and your margin will get a lot stronger along the way.