Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face!
It’s one of those expressions you hear from time to time and often heed as a result. But is there ever a cause for you to do it anyway?
Some many think I’m CRAZY, as I’ve recently had a conversation and sacked one of our largest clients!
They have been clients for a while, have continuously progressed through the variety of services we offer, and at the time we parted company were a significant 4figure per month client, who appeared to love who we are and what we do for them and their business!
But there was a problem!…..
You see, whilst they really enjoyed what we were able to do for them, they had little understanding or intent to learn anything about what their ‘demands’ did for us and our growth. And whilst they may have PAID a significant amount of money, they actually COST us a considerable amount also in terms of time, and effort, and adhering to their specific and bespoke requirements which in turn took us further and further away from us concentrating also on the longer term growth of us and our business. It wasn’t a “Win/Win” relationship. They were winning, at the expense of our progression and that simply doesn’t work!
On our Youtube page, I’ve previously recorded this video entitled “Know your customer, Grade your list!” and in it I share why this client had gone from a prospective A GRADE Client to becoming a D GRADE client!, you see you should all, periodically GRADE YOUR LIST!
Let me explain:
- An A GRADE client is NOT the client who spends the most! An A GRADE client is those who are the most profitable to the business! They get you, and what you do, they buy into your vision, your values, your culture. They buy what you sell, when you sell, how you sell, they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you and are happy to continually refer you to friends, family and colleagues alike; they are DIE HARD Fans!
- A B GRADE client, may SPEND more than an A GRADE client! But they also expect a lot more because of it. They may invest heavily with you, but they also command alot of TLC, and that bespoke element of time, and personalisation automatically means to attract more B GRADE clients you would ultimately need more staff and resource to service their individual requirements, and ultimately determines they do not present the same ‘ease of scale’ within the business as the A GRADE clients!
- A C GRADE client, may not spend as much or often as a B GRADE, but is often a long term, loyal customer, has been with you for ages, and has no intent to change! Although they may not spend on each transaction, their ‘Life time value’ makes them just as worthy of your time and attention as those who ‘spend big’ whenever they are in town! On a day to day, these may only be your ‘bread & butter’ cash, rather than the growth of the business, but you gotta eat something, and these guys n gals are the ones you can rely on to keep the lights turned on each day!
With A’s B’s and C’s already covered, you may well ask yourself “who’s left?”
- The term I use for D GRADE client is simply a “Mood Hoover!” And it doesn’t matter how much these clients spend, they simply don’t get you and your business! They are not loyal, they only buy from you because it suits them. These customers don’t understand or care to understand the vision and values and culture or purpose of you and your business. These people are USERS, self centric and will, over time, absorb you and your energy until you are no longer performing effectively for them and then simply drop you and move on.
It sounds harsh, and I have no intent of causing WW3 with my comments and observations here, but the danger and damage a D GRADE client can have to you should NEVER be under-estimated. Because whilst you are continuing to work with them, you might not notice it at first, but your enthusiasm, your drive, your personality begins to wain, and before you know it, your A GRADE clients have become less impressed and become B GRADE clients, your B GRADE clients are putting more demands on you and spending less risking becoming C GRADE Clients, and your C GRADE clients whilst long term and loyal, begin to say, “Well, I’ve been a customer for years, perhaps its a bout time I gave someone else a try!”
Left unresolved or unchallenged this slow and often hidden deterioration is slowly corroding the essence of you and your business!
The only action you are then left to take is to eradicate the problem, get to the root cause and remove it. You have to be willing to make the tough decisions, have the tough conversations and understand at times it’s far better to loose the battle to win the war!
Not everything in business is beautiful, and as a business owner you have to be willing to take the Good, the Bad and the down right Ugly parts of it and deal with them all.
You will be better for it,
Your business will become better for it,
Your customers and clients will eventually thank you for it
and ultimately you’ll be able to get back to loving what you do, by doing what you love!